Mar 29, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) at home plate against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

If you were going to see a sports media personality rip the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani for their latest transgressions, odds are it would be Chris Russo, right?

A controversial incident involving the fan who caught Ohtani’s first home run with the Dodgers ignited a firestorm, which saw the “Mad Dog” heavily criticize the team’s handling of the situation. This comes after the fan in question, Ambar Roman alleges she felt pressured by security to surrender the ball, and later claims by Ohtani of meeting with her proved inaccurate.

Traditionally, catching a significant home run ball involves a friendly negotiation between the team and the fan. In exchange for the ball, the fan might receive signed memorabilia and a chance to meet the player, a memento with sentimental value for the player.

However, Roman and her husband, Alexis Valenzuela, claim the Dodgers strayed from this custom. They allege security staff used pressure tactics to separate them and force them to accept a meager offer for the ball. The Dodgers initially proposed just two signed Ohtani caps, a stark contrast to the estimated $100,000 value an auction house representative gave The Athletic.

And needless to say, Russo wasn’t having it.

“The ball’s worth a $100,000. How about the Dodgers, and how about Ohtani, who basically wires money all over America for his translator — $4.5 million?” asked Russo. “And if you think he didn’t, you need your head examined…Ohtani helped him out; Ohtani wired that money. Ohtani’s worth billions. How about Ohtani writes the lady a $100,000 check for the ball after this nonsense? And then telling everyone, ‘You know what? I met the fan. What a nice fan.’ No, you didn’t. You went nowhere near the fan for crying out loud.

“That is an absolute unmitigated disgrace that the Dodgers did this nonsense. How about the Dodgers? This is a franchise that’s worth billions of billions of dollars, and you can’t even watch the games in your freaking town. And the Dodgers are gonna make the woman ‘Be smart, give me the damn ball,’ when the lady doesn’t even have any goddamn money because Ohtani’s gotta have a stupid ball? Let him beg for it.”

Tell us how you really feel, Mad Dog. And Russo did because he informed his listeners how sick he was of the Dodgers, saying that he hoped the team managed by Dave Roberts never wins.

“I’m sick of them. I’m down on Ohtani anyway because, first off, he’s overrated, and he threw that poor translator under the bus like you wouldn’t believe,” Russo continued. “And I’m still waiting, and so is America, by the way, we’re still waiting for some police activity with the translator about how he had $4.5 million of wire fraud and theft. I’m still waiting for this guy to be arrested, as Ohtani claimed 10 days ago. And then this poor couple has a ball out there on a home run. And Ohtani wants the damn ball for his memorabilia collection, so the Dodgers, wanting to protect Ohtani — just like the Angels did — never talked to the media; 9,000 people around him; they never get access to him.

“So, the Dodgers basically send freaking Al Capone’s crew out to the right field, and they harassed this poor woman. They separated (the couple) 30 yards away, and she says, ‘Jeez, I don’t need the hassle; take the Goddamn ball. Give me a couple of hats. Oh yeah, I’d like to meet Ohtani.’ ‘No, no, Ohtani, We’ll give you a hat or two. Get the hell out of here now.’ What a freaking disgrace. And don’t have Ohtani sitting in press conferences after he does something good, lying about how he met the fan. Nonsense! He met nobody. The Dodgers are making it seem like Ohtani walked out to right field, signed autographs, and took pictures with the fans. He did nothing of the sort!”

Ohtani’s transition from Anaheim to Los Angeles hasn’t been without controversy. And if there’s controversy surrounding Ohtani, you can set your clock to Russo taking him and the Dodgers to task. Don’t worry; Russo will likely continue to further hold Ohtani and the Dodgers to a high standard, waiting in the wings to offer pointed commentary for their frequent missteps.

[Mad Dog Unleashed on X, The Athletic]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.