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June 10, 2024 4 mins
It's been 6 months to the day since Shohei Ohtani announced he was signing with the Dodgers. Tim Cates looks back at the wild day of internet rumors, false reports, and tracking of a private plane across North America before he signed with the Dodgers. 
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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
Today, June ninth, marks thesix month anniversary of showe Aotani announcing to
the world on social media that hehad made his decision to sign with the
Dodgers. Breaking news from Major LeagueBaseball, Breaking news from Major League Baseball,
Show hey Otani, Tani is signingwith the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sports

(00:20):
changed forever that Saturday afternoon. Notonly did Shoe a Otani sign the largest
contract in Major League Baseball history,but he inked the richest deal in the
history of North American sports. Tenyear, ten years, ten years,
seven hundred, seven hundred, sevenhundred million dollars. The numbers are astronomical.

(00:41):
It was December ninth, twenty twentythree, the day Show Hey Otani
let it be known he was signingwith the Dodgers. But remember the world
win. That was the day beforeinternet rumors, false reports amateur air traffic
controllers following a plane across North America. Baseball fans everywhere that day wondered where

(01:02):
in the world is sho he Otani. Friday, December eighth, twenty twenty
three, five point thirty nine amPacific time, John Morosi of the MLB
Network tweeted out source shoeotani decision isimmining, possibly as early as today.
That one note from a national baseballinsider sent the sports world into a dizzy.

(01:23):
This is getting a bit more real. Toronto is getting a little bit
more momentum than I thought they weregoing to. If he goes to Toronto,
he owns it, and he ownsCanada, he owns the United States,
and he owns Japan, and hebecomes an international star. Less than
an hour after the initial news thatOtani's decision was imminent six point thirty one
am Pacific, a Toronto Blue Jaysfan posted on a Reddit page that a

(01:48):
private plane was chartered to fly fromOrange County to Toronto. That same plane
had flown to Florida five days earlierwith Otani on it, so speculation was
swirling now that sho Heotani was headedto Toronto to sign with the Blue Jays.
The buzz on social media was growingas fans tried to connect the dots.

(02:10):
Instantly, fans became amateur air trafficcontrollers. They were tracking flight in
six one six RH as it madeits way slowly across the country. Take
a look at the radar right there. It's a Bombardier Global five thousand.
Is this sho he Otani's airplane?The mystery continued ten fifty three am Pacific,

(02:34):
five hours after the report that Otani'ssigning was imminent. Jp Hornstruck,
a writer for a Dodgers blog,posted an article citing multiple sources that shoey
Otani was indeed planning on signing withthe Toronto Blue Jays one oh one pm
Pacific. Over two hours later,MLB network insider John Morosi updated everyone with
a tweet sources Shoeyotani is en routeto Toronto. Time Things were changing quickly.

(03:01):
To eleven pm Pacific, the storytook a new twist as Bob Nightingale
of the USA Today posted on socialmedia that showe Aotani was not on a
flight to Toronto, it was actuallyat home here in southern California. Forty
three minutes later, two fifty fourpm Pacific, Evan Mitsui, a CBC

(03:23):
photographer, was dispatched to the tarmacand Pearson Airport in Toronto. When he
arrived, he got eyes on themost talked about plane in North America.
So what did he discover? Itwas not Shoeotani after all, It was
Robert Hrschovich, the Canadian businessman,an entrepreneur, and one of the stars

(03:45):
of the TV show Shark Tank.I had no idea. It was just
me and my five and a halfyear old twins. We Land and there's
a bunch of customs guys and gowhere's Otani? And then my text star
coming in. I put two ortwo together. They didn't even ask for
my passport. They were so disappointment. It was me. I've never been

(04:06):
more humbled in my life. Awild eight hours of reports, rumors,
and speculation. Where in the worldwas Shohyotani. Well he was not only
not in Canada, he was nevereven on a flight to Toronto to sign
with the Blue Jays, something thatreally upset fans north of the border.
No, no, no way.I don't want to hear about how fans

(04:29):
shouldn't believe things on social This rumorwas awful. The idea that he would
come up and be a Toronto BlueJay was going to change everything. Turns
out nothing was changing. As thesun set in in a wild Friday show,
Heyotani remained baseball's most sought after freeagent. The next day, Saturday,
December ninth, Otani broke his silenceand made it official he was signing

(04:49):
with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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