Shohei Ohtani Officially Joins the Dodgers

JapanUp! Attends Conference Unveiling New Star in Iconic Dodger Blue

JapanUp! magazine was on site as the press conference unveiling Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Dodgers unfolded at Dodger Stadium. We witnessed Ohtani in his new iconic Dodger Blue for the very first time.

Finally, Shohei Ohtani in Dodger Blue is Unveiled

On the afternoon of December 14, a press conference was held at Dodger Stadium for Shohei Ohtani, who has been selected to join the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2024 Major League Baseball season. It was held at the stadium’s Center Field Plaza. About 400 seats were prepared for the media, and a large number of reporters from the United States, Japan, and other countries gathered.

At the press conference, Andrew Friedman, the President of Baseball Operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers, began his speech by reflecting on the achievements of Japanese players, saying, “This announcement is being made in the most important way here at the Dodgers, who have produced countless great Japanese major leaguers, including Hideo Nomo, Hiroki Kuroda, and Kenta Maeda.”

Next, Ohtani appeared on stage. He was dressed in his navy suit and blue tie. Who would have imagined that Dodger Blue, the exact opposite of the red color of Angel, would look so good on him?

Finally, he took off his jacket and put on his Dodgers uniform. He looked a little nervous, but he put on a blue baseball cap and took the photo with a proud smile as if filled with anticipation of playing for the Dodgers from now on. He began his induction speech as soon as his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, arrived next to him.

“First of all, I would like to thank the Los Angeles Dodgers organization for giving me this opportunity and believing in me as a baseball player, especially Mark Walter, Andrew Friedman, Stan Kasten, Brandon Gomes, and Dave Roberts. I am very grateful to all of them for being very supportive throughout this whole process.

I would also like to thank the Angels organization for giving me my first chance to play in the major leagues, and for the six wonderful, precious, and unforgettable years I can look back on. I will never forget all the memories I have made.

I would like to thank everyone involved in this whole process from the bottom of my heart. I am very happy and excited to be a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team with a clear vision to win and a rich history.

Finally, I would like to thank my agent who has helped me every day, and all the fans who have always cheered me on so warmly from as far away as Japan.”

( This speech was originally given in Japanese and has been translated.)

After his speech, there was a question-and-answer period during which Ohtani answered every question from the media in detail. First, when asked why he finally decided on the Dodgers, he answered that he had not one but many reasons. At the end of the negotiations, he met with several teams, all of which were great, and he revealed that it was a really difficult decision to make.

He emphasized that he felt everyone on the Dodgers, from ownership to the front office, his future teammates, and the fans, were all united in the same direction and vision for winning.

Among various questions such as his decision to join the Dodgers, the right elbow surgery he underwent in September, and his contract price, he was also asked about his dog, which has been a popular topic on the Internet. When a reporter asked him about his dog’s name, he smiled with a tinge of embarrassment and said, “My dog’s name is Dekopin. That’s a Japanese name. I figured it’d be hard for American people to pronounce it. He has an American name, it’s Decoy.” In Japanese, “Dekopin” is the term used to describe a light or playful flick of the finger on someone’s forehead.

As Ohtani embarks on this new chapter with the Dodgers, the baseball world (and Dekopin) will be watching eagerly to see how his legendary talents continue to develop and impact the game.