The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play the official opening game of the 2024 season at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, on the 20th and 21st of next month. Although major leaguers have never visited and played in Korea in the past, this is the first time that an official Major League game will be held in Korea.마카오카지노
Shohei Ohtani, the hero of the historic deal, will also participate in the event. At the Dodgers FanFest held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Monday (Korea time), Ohtani said, “Currently, my batting preparation is close to 100 percent, and I can play in the opening game in Seoul at this rate.”
Ohtani underwent his second Tommy John surgery in September last year. There were concerns about Ohtani’s return as a pitcher as it was his second elbow surgery following 2018. Attention was focusing on how the surgery would affect his contract as it was just before the FA, but the result seemed to be no obstacle. Ohtani left the Los Angeles Angels in December last year after signing a 10-year, 700 million-dollar contract with the Dodgers. No player in American pro sports had won a contract worth more than 500 million dollars.
On the other hand, some questioned whether Ohtani will be able to play in all 162 games in the 2024 season. With more than 150 games played in 2021 and 2022, Ohtani proved that he can spend the full season as a designated hitter as well. As he focuses on designated hitters, some expect him to play in the FKI for the first time this year. However, some made sense in his opinion that playing in the early opening game in mid-March after surgery in September last year is another matter. Ohtani himself answered this question.
At the fanfest on Tuesday, Ohtani explained how much rehabilitation has progressed for both batters and pitchers. When asked by the host, “I know I can’t throw this year due to elbow surgery, but how far has my rehabilitation progressed? How much are you ready to hit?” Ohtani said, “I think the batting will increase to 100 soon. If nothing much happens from now on, I think I can play in time for the opening game. In terms of pitching, I have a better feeling than the first surgery, so I don’t have to be in a hurry, but if I go as planned, I think I can fit in next year (opening).”
In fact, Ohtani said at a press conference last year that he is preparing for the next season with fast pace in batting. “I recently started taking light swings, and I am building up my physical condition to play on the opening day. I think I can play as the designated hitter in the opening game,” Ohtani said at the time. He has been preparing for the opening game earlier than usual while training at Dodger Stadium since his joining the team.
It can be said that tickets for the opening series of the Seoul Major League Baseball (MLB), which already had reservation for the first round, have increased thanks to Ohtani’s single word. Fans were willing to open their wallets despite the high-priced policy, in which the most expensive seats cost 700,000 won (approx. All tickets for the first round were sold out in just eight minutes. Ohtani will also be able to play a special game that will be played ahead of the opening series of the Seoul Major League Baseball. Dodgers plans to play a special game, an exhibition game against Kiwoom Heroes on April 17 and Team Korea on April 18, to boost its sense of play. Ohtani is also likely to start a final inspection here.
With the prospect of participating in the game, attention is now focusing on the batting order. The Dodgers recruited Ohtani, the MVP of the American League in 2021 and 2023, and also has Mookie Betts, the MVP of the 2018 American League, and Freddie Freeman, the 2020 National League MVP. Many fans are curious about the best batting order for the MVP trio. In fact, manager Dave Roberts is also curious. That’s why they even conducted a survey of their fans.
“I haven’t thought much about batting order yet, but I’m waiting for the day to decide how to make up the three MVPs, Betts, Freeman and Ohtani,” Roberts said in an interview with the fanfest on the 4th. He also said that when he surveyed his fans, Betts, Otani and Freeman received the most votes.
Roberts said, “I just talked to people. I don’t think the opening batting order will be maintained throughout the season. If the time comes to decide, I’d like to talk to Betts Freeman Ohtani about the batting order.”
Betts and Freeman have no problem with anything. Betts never misses the first hitter after joining the Dodgers, but is not tied to the batting order. The same was true for Freeman. Freeman said, “Everyone asks that question. I was the second hitter in 2022 and switched seats with Trey Turner of the Philadelphia Phillies. We will see how it goes. I hope we find something in the spring training and that it will work for a long time,” adding that he would look for the best combination before the opening game.