Ohtani Watch gets wild as new reports deny Toronto trip
Where in the world is Shohei Ohtani?
That's been the question on every baseball fan's mind Friday, as a series of conflicting reports about the two-way superstar's free-agency decision captivated multiple countries but ended up yielding nothing but confusion.
Early Friday morning, MLB Network's Jon Morosi tweeted that sources told him Ohtani's choice of team was forthcoming. The Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs have been thought to be the finalists for his services.
The madness really started early Friday afternoon, when J.P. Hoornstra of Dodger Nation reported that Ohtani had decided to sign with the Blue Jays. A few hours later, Morosi sent another tweet that sent shockwaves throughout Canada.
With the anticipation building, Blue Jays fans began celebrating on social media. Some even began tracking flights to Toronto, taking note of one private jet that was en route to Pearson Airport from Southern California and landing at around the same time as the reports surfaced.
But things took yet another turn less than two hours later. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that Ohtani had not actually landed in Toronto and was still at home in California. His report was soon confirmed by other media members.
Later, CBC News' Devin Heroux confirmed the private jet fans were following as it flew from John Wayne Airport to Toronto was actually transporting Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec. The 61-year-old, best known for his appearances on the TV series "Shark Tank" and its Canadian counterpart "Dragons' Den," had some fun with the situation after landing.
Late Friday night, Morosi issued an apology for the original inaccurate report.
There's still no word on when or how long it will take for Ohtani to make his decision.
Ironically, this entire saga came on the sixth anniversary of Ohtani signing with the Angels.
The Blue Jays have apparently been building momentum toward an Ohtani signing throughout the past week. Ohtani was believed to have visited the Blue Jays' spring training complex Monday to meet with the organization's top brass, who have continued to remain secretive on the topic.
Toronto has been linked to the two-way sensation for much of the offseason after its disappointing playoff exit to end last season. The Blue Jays are also in the midst of a second tier of renovations to upgrade the Rogers Centre, so signing a player of Ohtani's caliber would help draw fans to the improved facility.
Earlier this week, Morosi believed there were five teams involved in the Ohtani sweepstakes, with the Dodgers regarded as the favorites. The Cubs, Giants, and incumbent Angels were the other clubs, according to varying reports.
Ohtani is expected to earn north of $500 million after winning his second unanimous AL MVP.