Dodgers look awful after fan who caught Shohei Ohtani’s home run shares story

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Both on the field and off, the hits just keep coming for Shohei Ohtani. He got off to a slow start to the season, underperforming in the center of the Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman sandwich, and fans had to wait for him to hit his first home run as a Dodger until Wednesday night, when he cranked a ball 430 feet to center field.

SportsNet LA's broadcast found the fan who caught it, a woman in center field named Ambar Roman, who promptly and appropriately went even wilder than the rest of the crowd, all of whom had gotten exactly what they came to see that night.

In his postgame interview, Ohtani purportedly said through new interpreter Will Ireton, "I was able to talk to the fan, and was able to get it back. Obviously it’s a very special ball, a lot of feelings toward it, I’m very grateful that it’s back." It was also quickly reported that Roman received signed memorabilia — a bat, a ball, and two hats.

That should've been the end of the story, right? Well, no. For the on-field hit, there had to be one off-field. The day after the homer, Sam Blum of The Athletic published Roman and her husband Alexis Valenzuela's account of the immediate aftermath of the catch, and it isn't pretty (subscription required). They claim that not only did they never meet Ohtani, but they were intimidated by the members of the Dodgers staff sent to retrieve it and forced into a quick deal.

The fan who caught Shohei Ohtani's first home run ball as a Dodgers DH shared a rough account of the aftermath

Roman said Dodgers staff, after separating her and Valenzuela, originally only offered two signed hats, and threatened to refuse to authenticate the ball if Roman decided to leave with it, rendering it essentially worthless on the open market.

The couple were escorted away from the crowd but were kept apart, and Roman did end up negotiating for the extra items she eventually walked away with (which the Dodgers also oddly refused to authenticate). All things considered, her husband still thought they deserved more. He "said he felt as though the team could have shown them the same type of love and respect that they have given the club for years."

Then, of course, there's the wrinkle that came straight from Ohtani. The discourse that's followed Blum's article (and oh, has there been discourse) has argued about whether or not Ohtani actually said he met the couple or if he was just referring to the Dodgers officials and something got lost in translation.

Roman said she's ultimately satisfied with what she got, and that Ohtani has the ball back, but it's just a bad look overall for a team and a player that are already dealing with a massive PR crisis. It certainly puts a damper on what should've just been an electric moment.