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USA Today via Reuters

Nobody thought that Shohei Ohtani’s first home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers would end up being anything but a moment of celebration. However, the news of the mistreatment of the ball-catching fans left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths. As a result, the Blue Crews’ practices came into question and that was something the Dodgers couldn’t afford. So quickly, the team has extended an olive branch for the wronged couple and they’ve taken it immediately. 

Ambar Roman and her husband Alexis Valenzuela couldn’t understand why they faced this ordeal. But as Roman said, “It wasn’t cool as a Dodgers fan. If it took for this to happen to me for them to change it, that’s great.” The couple is optimistic as they’re about to embark on a memorable evening in the Dodger Stadium on April 12.

Dodgers extend an olive branch to the couple who caught Ohtani’s home run ball

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The Athletic has reported that the Men in Blue have offered the couple a chance to step on the field before their game on April 12. Incidentally, Roman’s birthday falls on that day so this could be a great birthday surprise for her. “I appreciate that I’m going to get to meet everyone. Not just (Ohtani),” Roman said. However, that isn’t the only thing the Dodgers will do for them.

Roman can get autographs on anything she wants. Then the couple will get to watch the game from seats at the field club level. Also, the Dodgers will authenticate their merchandise when they arrive on April 12. “I’m glad I’m getting something out of it. I would never be able to sit in those (field seats) seats, so it’s something special, something I’m going to remember,” Roman said.

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The Dodgers have also announced that they’ll review their process of milestone ball retrieval. So it seems the Blue Crew is ready to give the couple an evening to remember. Perhaps this could signal a change in how the teams approach such matters as multiple fans have complained about the authentication process of the league.

Consistent questions are being raised over the authentication process

Shohei Ohtani’s homerun ball controversy isn’t anything new. MLB provides at least two authenticators per game but they usually sit in the dugouts. However, there have been instances where teams have refused to authenticate balls for their fans. An example is Bryant Junco, who paid for Aaron Judge’s 59th home run ball in the stands. But both the Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Yankees denied his authentication request. 

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Similarly, Mike Hutcheson caught Albert Pujols’ 703rd career home run. However, the St. Louis Cardinals denied authenticating his ball after he rejected their offer of getting an autographed ball in return(via Newsweek). So it seems there has been a consistent controversy regarding the league’s practice of denying authentication. Hopefully, with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ example – other teams will soon follow to give fans a better baseball experience.

Read more: Shohei Ohtani Opens Up on Secret Improvement Behind First Home Run, Perseveres Despite Slow Start