World Series

Ohtani gifts Roberts a toy Porsche before breaking club mark for most HRs by a Japanese-born player

Ohtani gifts Roberts a toy Porsche before breaking club mark for most HRs by a Japanese-born player

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dave Roberts recently joked that Shohei Ohtani should gift Roberts a Porsche when Ohtani breaks his Dodgers' record for most home runs by a Japanese-born player.

Ohtani obliged, just maybe not in the way Roberts imagined.

Before Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers' slugger gifted Roberts a purple toy model Porsche in his office.

Ohtani hit his eighth home run, and surpassed Roberts' mark, with a solo shot to right-center during the third inning of Saturday's 11-2 victory.

“He said he wanted a car and I’m glad he was happy that he got a car,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton.

Roberts interrupted Ohtani's postgame interview to show off the gift and also congratulate Ohtani for surpassing the mark.

“This is my car,” Roberts said proudly as he showed it to reporters. The difference is Joe's car (pitcher Joe Kelly) doesn’t fit in my office. This car fits on my desk. So thank you. Shohei."

Ohtani gifted Ashley Kelly, the wife of Joe Kelly, a Porsche for Kelly giving up No. 17 when Ohtani signed with the Dodgers last December. Kelly's wife took to social media while Ohtani was weighing his free agency decision promising him that he could have the number and all the gear associated with it.

Roberts, born in Naha, Okinawa, Japan, to a Japanese mother and American father, hit seven home runs for the Dodgers from 2002-04.

“I’ve received different gifts from players but this is right at the top, for sure,” Roberts said.

More than anything though, the gift shows off Ohtani's sense of humor along with how much fun he is having in his first season with the Dodgers after signing a 10 year, $700 million contract.

“I like to make people laugh and I’m hoping to do more of these," Ohtani said.

Ohtani is sixth in the majors with a .345 batting average. That is also his best average through 34 games in his seven years in the big leagues. His best average at this point with the Los Angeles Angels was .319 during his rookie season in 2018.

The Dodgers have won 10 of 12. During that stretch, Ohtani has gone 15 of 47 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. That includes three hits and two RBIs in Saturday's game.

“I think with Shohei it just speaks to how comfortable he feels here with the Dodgers. How excited he is to play winning baseball,” Roberts said. "I think that the way he’s been received, the way he’s melded with our ballclub and how much the fans have embraced him, he feels it.

I do believe that it translates into performance. I think he’s having as much fun as he’s ever had, and the play shows."

Ohtani does have 179 career home runs in the majors. He surpassed Hideki Matsui for most by a Japanese-born player earlier this month. Matsui had 175 during a 10-year career.

However, one does wonder what it would take for Ohtani to buy Roberts a real Porsche?

“If we win the World Series. I’ll think about it,” Ohtani said.




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