13 Ohtani dates to circle on your '24 calendar

December 10th, 2023

There’s still plenty left to sort out this offseason, but now that has made his decision -- joining the Dodgers on a historic 10-year, $700 million deal -- you’ll forgive us for looking ahead to 2024.

Here are some key Ohtani-centric dates and matchups to circle on your calendar next year.

Feb. 22 (Spring Training opener at Padres)
This may be the most anticipated Spring Training game in MLB history. Assuming Ohtani is in the lineup, all eyes will be on the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Ariz., as Los Angeles opens up its Cactus League slate.

March 20 (vs. Padres in Korea)
The Dodgers’ two-game series against the Padres in Seoul, South Korea -- marking the first MLB regular season games played in Korea -- will fittingly give Ohtani the chance to make his team debut on the international stage.

March 26 (exhibition matchup at Angels)
Fans may not have to wait long to see Ohtani make his return to Angel Stadium, his home for the past six seasons. The Dodgers and Angels will square off in their annual spring exhibition series from March 24-26, playing two games at Dodger Stadium before finishing up with one in Anaheim.

March 28 (home opener vs. Cardinals)
Ohtani’s official Dodgers debut will come eight days prior, and he may even get an appearance or two at Dodger Stadium during Los Angeles’ exhibition series against the Angels. But consider this the two-way superstar’s true coming out party with the franchise.

April 5 (at Cubs)
Ohtani has never played a game at Wrigley Field, but he’ll be there for the Dodgers’ fourth series of the season when Los Angeles takes on the Cubs, who were reportedly among the finalists to sign him.

April 26 (at Blue Jays)
For a short time, it looked as if the Blue Jays were actually going to land Ohtani, with rumors emerging on Dec. 9 that he was on a flight to Toronto. Those rumors proved untrue, however, and Ohtani picked the Dodgers one day later. Ohtani will make a trip to Toronto after all -- as a visitor from April 26-28.

May 3 (vs. Braves)
The two reigning MVPs -- Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. -- will share the field when the two teams many expect to battle for National League supremacy go head to head for the first time in 2024.

May 13 (at Giants)
Ohtani became the latest big-name free agent to spurn the Giants, following Bryce Harper and Aaron Judge. Worst of all, he joined their biggest rivals, which means they’ll be seeing a lot of him over the next 10 years. After playing the Dodgers in Los Angeles from April 1-3, the Giants will host Ohtani’s new team for the first time at Oracle Park from May 13-15.

May 27 (at Mets)
The Mets’ vast financial resources had many picking them as early favorites for Ohtani. But with Ohtani reportedly reluctant to play in New York, they never had a real shot. He’ll come to the Big Apple as a member of the Dodgers from May 27-29 for a series that will gain even more intrigue if the Mets can somehow reel in another Japanese star, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, in free agency.

June 7 (at Yankees)
Unlike Ohtani’s first run at free agency in 2017, the Yankees did not seriously pursue him this time. Instead, they swung a trade with the Padres for outfielder Juan Soto. The move paired up Soto and Aaron Judge, who edged out Ohtani in the 2022 AL MVP race. Yankee Stadium is sure to be abuzz when Judge, Soto and the Yanks host Ohtani, Mookie Betts and the Dodgers in a star-studded matchup. Adding another potential wrinkle to this series? The Yankees are a top contender for Yamamoto, while the Dodgers are trying hard for him, too.

June 11 (vs. Rangers)
The Rangers showed the upside of free agency when their signings of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Nathan Eovaldi led to a World Series title in 2023. The Dodgers surely hope their move to add Ohtani will have a similar effect. Seager, of course, helped Los Angeles win it all in 2020, but the Dodgers opted not to re-sign him when he became a free agent in 2021, perhaps paving the way for Ohtani’s deal two years later.

June 21 (vs. Angels)
Although he only spent six seasons with the franchise, Ohtani will go down as one of the greatest players in Angels history. He'll square off with his former team for the first time (not including exhibition games) when the Dodgers host the Halos for a two-game series on June 21-22.

Sept. 3 (at Angels)
It will be interesting to see how Ohtani is received at Angel Stadium when he makes his long-awaited return for his first regular-season games in Anaheim as a visiting player.