Shohei Ohtani’s wife had amazing reason to forgo first pitch on bobblehead night

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Shohei Ohtani bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium drew a sell-out crowd of 53,527, the largest number in a regular season game since 2019. The lines to get in and receive one of 40,000 bobbleheads (along with 1,700 special edition, gray road jersey versions), started forming hours before the first pitch, with lines wrapping around street corners well outside the stadium.

The crowd would have to go on to watch the Dodgers lose 7-2 and Ohtani go hitless, but beer and hot dog sales were probably through the roof, and at least almost everyone in attendance got their hands on a bobblehead.

To commemorate the occasion, the Dodgers reportedly invited Ohtani's wife, Mamiko Tanaka, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but the couple decided to pass it onto someone else. Tanaka said, "It's an honor, but I think it would be better for children who like baseball, or children from hospitals who don't often come to watch games."

13-year-old Albert, a patient at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, was greeted by Ohtani before the game, given a signed jersey, bobblehead, and ball, and told that he would be throwing the first pitch to Ohtani that night while his family watched on from the suite.

Shohei Ohtani Bobblehead Night: Dodgers made kind gesture to kid

Maybe Mamiko will get the opportunity to throw out the first pitch before a home Dodgers game in the future, but there's no denying her selflessness made Ohtani's bobblehead night even more wholesome and genuine. After all, giveaway nights at the ballpark are much more meaningful to fans than the folks in the suites.

Despite the loss, Albert got to go home with a lot of new Dodgers swag and a priceless memory on top. Ohtani said afterwards, "It would have been best if we won. I hope it becomes a good memory.''