Shohei Ohtani Shakes Off Bomb Threat as Dodgers Rally in Seoul

The Dodgers and Padres began the 2024 Seoul Series at Gocheok Sky Dome on Wednesday

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bad vibes from a bomb threat didn't stop Shohei Ohtani from stealing second base in Seoul.
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Batting between fellow favorites to win Most Valuable Player in the National League Mookie Betts (+650 to win NL MVP) and Freddie Freeman (+900), Shohei Ohtani collected two hits, picked up an RBI and stole a base in his Dodger debut during Wednesday’s season-opening 2024 Seoul Series game vs. the Padres.

Ohtani’s explosive debut, which was capped off with his single in a four-run eighth-inning for the Dodgers that gave Los Angeles a 5-2 over San Diego, began ominously as about 150 police officers used dogs, X-ray detectors and other equipment to search through Gocheok Sky Dome following a bomb threat against LA’s top star. No explosives or suspicious objects were discovered and the game was able to begin as scheduled.

“It’s unfortunate that the threat of a bomb even being a possibility, but I have complete confidence in Major League Baseball and the security here that we feel safe,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said before his team’s opening-day loss.

Given a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers this offseason, 29-year-old Ohtani has generally been popular with South Korean baseball fans despite their country’s historic rivalry with his home country of Japan and a crowd of 15,952 was on hand to watch his debut with the Dodgers. The suspected sender of the English-language bomb threat, who claimed to be a Japanese lawyer, was likely not in attendance.

Is Shohei Ohtani the New Bobby Bonilla? 
Per ESPN, a “majority” of Ohtani’s $700-million contract is deferred

“The safety and security of our fans and everyone in the ballparks where we play are always our first priority,” MLB said in a statement. “MLB Security works closely with local officials to ensure a safe environment for all those who attend our games. MLB, along with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and other local officials, will continue to monitor the situation closely and take any appropriate steps throughout the event.”

In the second game of the Seoul Series, Japanese righty Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who agreed to a $325 million, 12-year contract with the Dodgers during the offseason and had an 8.38 ERA over 9 2/3 innings in three spring training outings, will debut for LA. Righty Joe Musgrove will go for the Padres after going 10-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts last year for San Diego. The season-opening games are the first MLB has ever played in South Korea.

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