The Secret Free Agency of Shohei Ohtani played out exactly as both the player and the Dodgers intended it to, despite Clayton Kershaw's subtle protestations. Information was kept under wraps, details were swept under the rug, and Dave Roberts was given a tongue lashing for daring to reveal that the two parties had ever met or heard of one another.
Every little information nugget remained hidden, including the literal nugget: Ohtani even declined to reveal the name of the dog who accompanied him during his AL MVP reveal. The superstar canceled his media availability after that honor was bestowed upon him, leaving reporters waiting and viral dog photos uncaptioned.
So, what was the big deal about this particular secret? Did Ohtani just not feel like speaking about anything, big or small, right down to the doggie, until his much bigger problems were settled? Was the dog's name a hint at the leader in his free agent chase, a theory floated by Pablo Torre that we desperately wanted to be real? Was it Jay? Ranger? Angel? Markus Lynn Betts?
Finally comfortable enough to let his guard down at his Dodgers introductory press conference, Ohtani revealed the pup's name on Thursday, but ... we're still not so sure we believe him.
According to Ohtani, the dog is named Dekopin, which roughly translates to "Decoy" in English. Adorable in Japanese, kind of odd in English, and also the exact thing someone who was still lying would say?
Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani's dog name: Dekopin, aka Decoy
No one has been cagier than Ohtani during this process. No one might be this cagey again. Are we sure we believe this dog name?
Here's a complete list of dog names I would've believed, hook, line, and sinker: Woofs, Lefty, Dinger, Effortless Swag, Lil' Guy, Hi-Five, Smiley, Furbo, Pitcher, Belly-Itcher, Hook, Line, Sinker.
And here's a complete list of names I wouldn't have trusted: Decoy, Fake, Faker, Lie, Little Lie, Big Little Lie, Arte Moreno.
I guess we're going to have to believe Ohtani, and we're going to have to believe him for 20 full years while the sum total of his deal is paid out in groundbreaking increments. Unless Decoy accidentally eats his contract and Andrew Friedman is forced to draw up a new one. Do you think they accounted for that?