Dodgers to reportedly start 2025 MLB season overseas again vs. intriguing opponent

Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (16) and manager Hideki
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (16) and manager Hideki / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

It feels safe to say that the Seoul Series didn't turn out to be ideal for most of those involved. The Dodgers and Padres both had to settle for identical records, with the Dodgers taking a come-from-behind victory in Game 1 before the Padres lit up Yoshinobu Yamamoto in his debut in Game 2. There was the scheduling awkwardness of both teams opening their seasons in Korea then coming back to the States to play a few more meaningless spring training games ahead of March 28. And then there was (is) the Shohei Ohtani-Ippei Mizuhara debacle that introduced an elephant who won't be leaving the room anytime soon.

But there were, of course, upsides to the series. It marked the first MLB games ever played in Korea, in front of a sold-out crowd full of dedicated international fans, and just reinforced the fact that the game is becoming more global, and for the better.

It's that sentiment that has already motivated MLB to expand its international reach this year, with games in Seoul, Mexico City, London, and Santo Domingo, and has reportedly already encouraged them to continue to expand next year. Quietly couched in a long report on MLB's tumultuous week, Bob Nightengale wrote that the Dodgers and Cubs were "privately informed" they would be opening their 2025 season in Ohtani, Yamamoto, and Seiya Suzuki's home country of Japan.

Dodgers-Cubs reported to open 2025 season in Tokyo, marking a homecoming for Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Seiya Suzuki

A series in Japan just makes sense, and the Dodgers' involvement is a no-brainer. Ohtani and Yamamoto's recruitment to the Dodgers this offseason basically got the entire country in LA's corner and opened up a world of potential avenues when it comes to bright young stars coming out of NPB. The Cubs' involvement makes a lot of sense too; Seiya Suzuki and new offseason addition Shōta Imanaga will also certainly make splashes in their own right. Together, the four of them will represent alumni of four of the 12 NPB teams.

Given Japanese fans' commitment to their national team during the World Baseball Classic last year, a raucous crowd is almost certainly in the cards for this season opener in 2025, especially if Ohtani is healthy enough to pitch by then. All that we ask is that both teams try to stray away from any potentially career-altering scandals, if it's not too much trouble.