Belmont Stakes

Toronto greets Shohei Ohtani with loud boos after free agency snafu, Ohtani responds with HR

Toronto greets Shohei Ohtani with loud boos after free agency snafu, Ohtani responds with HR

This wasn’t how Blue Jays envisioned Shohei Ohtani hitting a homer at the Rogers Centre. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

It appears Toronto Blue Jays fans aren't quite over being spurned by Shohei Ohtani. It also appears Ohtani doesn't care.

Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers visited Toronto on Friday, only a few months after the most confusing day of last year's MLB offseason. Long story short, Ohtani was widely speculated — and at one point, directly reported — to be on a jet headed to Canada with plans to sign with the Blue Jays on Dec. 9. And then it turned out he wasn't. And then he signed with the Dodgers.

Many wondered how Ohtani would be received in the city that was once eagerly awaiting his arrival. The answer turned out to be some very loud booing.

Let's just say that Ohtani wasn't phased.

Two pitches later, Ohtani clobbered a solo homer off Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt to give his team a 1-0 lead. More boos followed, though they were more than matched by cheers from Dodgers fans in the crowd.

Toronto fans followed that up by booing Ohtani arguably even harder in his next at-bat, and cheering a pitch that came in right under his chin. That at-bat resulted in a walk, part of a six-run inning for the Dodgers.

It really once looked like the Blue Jays had Ohtani in their hands. Even many people on the Dodgers believed the speculation to have real legs, but it all turned out to be smoke with no fire.

You can't really blame Blue Jays fans for being annoyed at how that all turned out, but the events of Dec. 9 were hardly Ohtani's fault. He was just sitting at home in Southern California while fans were tracking a jet from Anaheim to Toronto — which hilariously turned out to contain "Shark Tank" businessman Robert Herjavec — and gassing up a collection of unfounded rumors and erroneous reports.

However, it was a bit of a knife twist when Ohtani announced he was signing his record $700 million deal with the Dodgers literally the next day. The whole thing was a lesson learned in not trusting random people on the internet.

Ohtani gave Toronto a taste of what it missed on Friday, part of a hot start to his Dodgers career. He entered Friday leading MLB in doubles (14) and total bases (73) plus a .358/.419/.670 slash line, despite having undergone major elbow surgery only six months ago.


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