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“Estimated to Be $100,000”: MLB World Divided Over Shohei Ohtani’s Ball Being Kept by Lucky Fan Despite Authentication

Published 04/23/2024, 1:00 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Shohei Ohtani did something amazing on Sunday! Not only did he hit a home run that helped his team win, but more importantly, it was his 176th career homer overall, breaking the record previously held by another Japanese legend, Hideki Matsui. But here’s the twist: the fan who caught the ball decided to keep it, and now everyone’s arguing about it! Some people think they should give it back; others think they deserve to keep it. What do you think?

This isn’t the first time a Dodgers homer by the Unicorn has caused a stir. Back on April 3rd, a fan named Ambar Roman snagged Ohtani’s very first home run with the Dodgers. The team thought the ball was worth a whopping $100,000, so they traded Ambar some signed stuff for it.

Fans thought Ambar got the short end of the stick when she traded the ball for autographs. There was a big fuss online, so the team flew her back to meet Shohei Ohtani in person, according to Dodger Blue.

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This time, things are different. The fan who caught the ball wants to stay out of the spotlight, but they did get the Boys in Blue to confirm it’s the real deal. This means the ball could be worth a lot of money if they ever decide to sell it. This has left the fans divided, causing another massive outcry.

While some fans traditionally return milestone catches to the player in exchange for autographed memorabilia or a meet-and-greet, others view them as valuable keepsakes or potential financial windfalls. This creates a complex scenario where individual gain clashes with the sentimental value such a historic object holds for the sport as a whole.

Hold onto the ball or sell it for a fortune? The lucky fan might have snagged Shohei Ohtani’s record-breaking home run ball, but now, everyone’s wondering: will they keep it as a trophy or cash in on this piece of baseball history? This has fans buzzing, and we’re going to explore all the different ways people feel about this!

A spectrum of opinions: Fans react to Shohei Ohtani’s legendary homer keepsake

Some fans lauded the unnamed fan’s decision, highlighting the potential financial windfall. “Smart fan!! Ball is worth 6 figures easy,” remarked one Twitter user. Others pointed out the intangible value of owning a piece of history.

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“Imagine if this was done for the woman who caught Ohtani’s 1st regular-season Dodger HR (her ball wouldn’t be authenticated unless she handed it over),” lamented a Japanese fan, hinting at a perceived double standard. However, not everyone agrees.

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Several fans question the sentimentality behind keeping the ball. “$70 million and can’t fork over $100,000…..that ball must not mean that much,” comments one, referencing Shohei Ohtani’s hefty AAV. Another chimes in, suggesting the fan might not even be aware of Ohtani’s significance, stating, “He said it was the first time he had ever been to a baseball game. He probably doesn’t know Ohtani”. The debate extends beyond just sentiment.

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Some argue that fans shouldn’t be expected to relinquish such valuable keepsakes. “Baseball Owners, players, and umpires are all about the money.  Why should the fans be any different? TV networks, pay per view, endorsements (NIKE) and the list goes on and on! Parking and concessions are outrageous! Don’t confuse dependance with caring about fans!” questions a fan, highlighting the commercialization within the sport. On the other hand, a suggestion emerged for the Baseball Hall of Fame to potentially acquire such historic balls to preserve them for future generations. The situation, for now, remains unresolved.

It’s a classic clash between individual gain and the sentimental value a historic object holds for the sport as a whole. Will the fan decide to keep Shohei Ohtani’s home run ball, potentially setting a new precedent for future milestone catches? Or will they choose to sell it, potentially fueling the ever-growing financialization of sports memorabilia? Only time will decide how this story unfolds.

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

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Shrabana Sengupta is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Shrabana shot to fame when she covered two prime MLB events: the 2023 World Series and the Free Agency that followed. During the 2023 World Series, Shrabana wrote her unfeigned perspectives on the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager and his wife, the 27x World Series Champions’ heartbreaking season, and later covered Shohei Ohtani’s highly anticipated record-breaking contract in 2023-24.
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