Shohei Ohtani reveals few details after surprise marriage announcement



Shohei Ohtani kept details about his wife to a minimum on Thursday, when the Los Angeles Dodgers’ famously private superstar met with the media for the first time since his surprise marriage announcement late Wednesday night.  Ohtani, who first revealed the news in an Instagram post, kept the identity of his wife a secret, saying only that she is “an ordinary Japanese person.”

“We first met about three or four years ago and we have fun together,” the 29-year-old said at the Dodgers’ spring training base in Glendale, Arizona. “I was able to imagine us being together forever.”

The news of Ohtani’s marriage set off a media frenzy in Japan and was featured in news reports in the United States, South Korea and parts of Europe.  Ohtani, who fiercely guards details about his personal life, said the timing of the announcement was to avoid any potential distractions going forward.  “I felt it was best to do it now and focus on baseball,” he said.

The Dodgers will begin the season against the San Diego Padres in Seoul on March 20.  “I think it’s best to do it before the season rather than during the season,” Ohtani said. “There were a lot of documents that had to be sorted out. I wanted to do it earlier.”

Ohtani revealed he and his partner met in Japan and have been engaged since last year. When asked about children, the two-time American League MVP said that is something he hopes will happen.  Ohtani also said his partner did not impact his decision to stay in Southern California and sign with the Dodgers in one of the most high-profile moves in MLB history.

Ohtani, who spent his first six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, signed a 10-year deal worth $700 million — the largest in North American sports history — with the Dodgers in December.  “Not at all,” Ohtani said. “She respects my opinion and that is something separate from baseball. My wife felt that she would come with me wherever I went, so that had nothing to do with it. Where I wanted to play baseball was the main thing.”

Ohtani’s announcement was met with an overwhelmingly positive response in Japan, including from Hideki Kuriyama, Ohtani’s manager with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters from 2013 to 2017. The pair reunited last spring when Kuriyama managed Samurai Japan to the World Baseball Classic title with Ohtani playing a starring role.  “I was so happy when I got the news from Shohei that ‘I’m getting married,’” Kuriyama said in a comment to Sports Nippon. “I want to say congratulations from the bottom of my heart. I feel like this will be a chance to see the real Shohei Ohtani.

“Since he joined Nippon Ham in 2013, I have always wanted to give Shohei an environment where he can play baseball with everything he has. That was not limited to the field. (I’ve always wanted to) give him the environment, including his private life, where he can focus on baseball. Nothing has changed even now. When he moved to the majors I told him he should find a good person and get married quickly.”

Ohtani’s announcement caught everyone by surprise — including the Dodgers.  “I’m very happy for him and his bride,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Associated Press. “As far as wedding gifts, we got surprised and didn’t have much time to think about it. I’m sure it’s en route.”

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, who attended the same high school as Ohtani, also sent his congratulations.  “He was already the best player in the world, now that he has a family, he will become even stronger,” Kikuchi said, according to NHK.


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