Dodgers, Shohei Ohtani Put on Blast Over Home Run Ball: ‘Possibly Swindled’

Shohei Ohtani

Getty Shohei Ohtani getting showered in sunflower seeds.

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani hit his first regular season home run wearing Dodger blue on April 3, during the 7th inning of a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Ohtani’s majestic blast was snagged by Dodgers fan Ambar Roman, whose X post sharing her celebrating with Ohtani’s home run ball in hand went viral.

But Roman’s special moment was soured when the Dodgers security staff, according to The Athletic, “pressured and possibly swindled” her as they retrieved the ball from her.

“I was just disappointed that a team that I hold so dear pulled a quote-unquote quick one on us,” Roman’s husband, Alexis Valenzuela, told The Athletic.

Dodgers Fans Say They Were Low-Balled for Shohei Ohtani’s 1st Home Run

Minutes after catching the ball, Roman and Valenzuela were approached by the Dodgers for what The Athletic’s Sam Blum called a typical “give-and-take negotiation” for the ball.

But the couple said the security staff “separated them, pressured them, and left them little choice but to hand over the baseball for what they considered a low-ball offer,” Blum wrote.

The Dodgers initially offered Roman and Valenzuela two signed caps for the home run ball. After that offer was declined by the couple, the Dodgers then offered two signed hats along with a signed bat and ball, Blum wrote.

This second offer — which Chris Ivey, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, valued at about $5,000 — was accepted by Roman and Valenzuela, according to Blum.

Ivey valued Ohtani’s home run ball at $100,000.

There was also confusion about Shohei Ohtani’s postgame comments regarding the ball.

Through his interpreter, Will Ireton, Ohtani said, “I was able to talk to the fan, and was able to get it back. Obviously it’s a very special ball, a lot of feelings toward it, I’m very grateful that it’s back.”

Yet, Roman told The Athletic that she and Valenzuela never met or spoke to Ohtani.

Ultimately, the couple was glad Ohtani received his ball. But they wish they’d been treated better in return for it.

Historic Home Run Exchanges Can Go More Smoothly

Dodgers fans are not strangers to catching historic home runs.

St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run at Dodgers stadium on September 23, 2022.

According to Bleacher Report, the fan who caught the ball was named Marlowe Leal. Rather than force Leal to exchange the ball for some merchandise, Dodgers staff offered to authenticate the ball — which is something they didn’t offer Roman and Valenzuela for Ohtani’s home run, Blum wrote.

This authentication — which solidifies an item’s value for auction — prompted Leal to keep the ball.

Leal then co-signed with Goldin Auctions to sell Pujols’ prized possession. The ball was ultimately sold for $360,000.

Unlike Ohtani, Pujols wasn’t insistent on receiving his historic home run ball.

“Souvenirs are for the fans,” Pujols told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “I don’t have any problem if they want to keep it. If they want to give it back, that’s great. But at the end of the day, I don’t focus on material stuff.”

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