Ohtani gets acclimated to Dodgers fans

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Shohei Ohtani now bleeds Dodger blue. The Los Angeles Dodgers hosted their 2024 Fanfest at Dodgers Stadium, which was attended by a sellout crowd of 35,000. After the event, the Dodgers headed down to Arizona for spring training.

Fans were excited to see their favorite players at Dodgers Fanfest, but one player in particular, Shohei Ohtani, drew the biggest cheers.

Despite not having played a single minute for the Dodgers yet, Ohtani was the biggest star on the team, with fans running throughout the stadium to get pictures, videos, or just a glimpse of him.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. Photo credit: Eduardo Alfaro/News4usonline

Ohtani was the last person to talk to the media and go on the main stage in front of everyone on the center field. The anticipation was felt as fans had to wait until the end of the fanfest to get to see the new face of the Dodgers for the next 10 seasons.

The Dodgers spent over a billion dollars this offseason to put one of the best baseball teams on the field, with the goal of winning a championship. Freddie Freeman commented on the team’s spending, saying, “I was told they wanted all those guys, with Shohei that’s probably a lot. Then all of a sudden, Yamamoto comes and Glassnow. I was like geez, it’s pretty incredible.”

Dodger fans are cheering the ownership for spending money to bring in talent, other fans are not pleased with what the organization is doing. They are now calling the Dodgers the villains of the MLB. Max Muncy responded to this criticism, saying, “If you want to call us the villains that’s fine, it does not change who we are in the clubhouse.

It does not change who we are to our fans. We have to go out there and perform at the end of the day.” Mookie Betts added, “I don’t know how we established the villains; I don’t know where it comes from, but hey it is what it is. We have to embrace it. Every team is going to come for the Dodgers.”

Betts, who played 70 games at second base in 2023, will be the Dodgers’ second baseman for the 2024 season. He is looking forward to playing second base and winning a gold glove for his defense. Betts has six gold gloves as an outfielder and was nominated last year for both outfielder and a utility role.

“If I can get me a gold glove at second base, I will accomplish something,” Betts said.

Dodger fans and players received a significant answer on Saturday regarding the team’s lineup. How will the top of the lineup be? Betts is expected to be the lead-off hitter the same as last season, but Dave Roberts has not revealed if he will have Freeman or Ohtani batting second.

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman. Photo credit: Eduardo Alfaro/News4usonline

Roberts took the stage in front of fans at center field and announced that Freeman would indeed be batting second, with Ohtani in the third spot in the lineup.

Betts and Freeman should see better pitches batting in front of the reigning AL MVP Ohtani. “It’s going to be a blessing and a lot of fun batting in front of him (Ohtani) and seeing all the things he is going to do,” said Betts.

Gavin Lux and Walker Buehler were also at the fanfest. They both missed all of last season with injuries. Lux is healthy and ready for spring training. He is looking forward to being the starting shortstop this year.

Buehler coming off his second Tommy John surgery will not start the season as the Dodgers want to limit his workload to be able to keep him healthy and fresh for October.

The organization has put together a great team on paper, but will it be enough? Will we see the boys in blue cruising in a parade through Los Angeles in late October for the first time since 1988?

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