Shohei Ohtani, booed by spurned Blue Jays fans, shuts them up with HR

Shohei Ohtani finally took to the skies in Toronto – at the expense of the Blue Jays, no less.

Hearing boos for one of the few times in his career after erroneous December media reports had him ticketed to join the Blue Jays in free agency, Ohtani silenced the Rogers Centre crowd Friday night with a towering home run in his first at-bat in Toronto since the free agent frenzy.

Ohtani hit his seventh home run of the season off Toronto starter Chris Bassitt, bringing some sense of closure to one of the stranger offseason episodes in major league history.

In case you forgot: An MLB Network report stated Ohtani was on his way to Toronto on Dec. 8, and a separate report indicated Ohtani had reached agreement with the Blue Jays – sparking an online frenzy to track a flight from Southern California to Toronto.

One problem: Ohtani was not on the plane. And no agreement was in place.

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Instead, a day later, Ohtani announced on Instagram he had reached agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His 10-year, $700 million deal ensured the globe’s biggest baseball star would join one of the game’s most storied franchises.

It also set the stage for a lackluster offseason for the Blue Jays, who failed to significantly upgrade a playoff team and currently are off to a 13-13 start.

So it was little wonder that the home crowd was a little salty Friday night – not that Ohtani had anything to do with sparking their false hopes nearly five months ago.

‘I was as surprised as any fans in terms of the news going around,’ Ohtani said this week in Washington, via interpreter Will Ireton. ‘I was just following the news. I knew I wasn’t on that flight, so I was curious, too. But I did meet with the Blue Jays organization and the impression I got was it’s a really, really great organization.

‘The fans are great and I love the city too, so I’m really looking forward to going to Toronto.’

You’d think it was nothing personal, but Blue Jays fans did not take it that way.

Ohtani’s response, then, was strictly business.

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