Shohei gets star treatment at Rams game, looks like a natural QB

December 22nd, 2023
Shohei Ohtani and agent Nez Balelo (AP Images)

Just for a night, the Los Angeles Rams' home of SoFi Stadium became ShoFi. 

You already know all about Shohei Ohtani being a two-way superstar. But bear with us and just imagine -- for a brief, magical moment -- the possibility of Ohtani as a two-sport superstar. 

Never going to happen, of course, but there was a glimpse of what Ohtani might look like on the gridiron when he was given the Hollywood treatment before the Rams' Thursday Night Football game against the Saints. The new Dodgers star got to roam the sidelines and was gifted a No. 17 blue-and-gold jersey, a week after trying on the blue and white for the first time.

Ohtani -- who was greeted by Rams players and their mascot, Rampage -- was also spotted on the sidelines with a football in hand, trying to find the right grip on the laces. Not exactly the same as the grip on his wicked sweeper, but Ohtani seemed to be picking it up quickly, with what looked like a few pointers from his agent, Nez Balelo.

Unfortunately there's no footage of Ohtani actually taking a shot at throwing the football, but we can only imagine how far he can chuck it. Certainly Rams QB Matthew Stafford -- a childhood friend and teammate of Dodgers great Clayton Kershaw -- would be thrilled to give Ohtani a tutorial.

After the pregame festivities, Ohtani headed up to a suite to take in the game and was shown on the broadcast wearing the new Rams jersey underneath his suave leather jacket.

"How excited is Los Angeles to have him?" color analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. "He's been in Anaheim, and now he's a Dodger."

"Well they are more excited if you're a Dodger fan than if you're an Angel fan," play-by-play man Al Michaels quipped. 

The excitement only built for Dodgers fans later in the night, when the team agreed to a massive deal for Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a teammate of Ohtani's on the 2023 World Baseball Classic championship team. The Rams are clearly ready to welcome Yamamoto to SoFi next, tweeting out a video of a jersey with his name on it hanging from the uprights.

The Shohei starpower in the house may have been a good luck charm for the Rams, who beat the Saints, 30-22, and then welcomed Ohtani into the locker room after the game. He had some words with head coach Sean McVay and shook hands with Stafford, who threw for over 300 yards on the night. So how about that passing lesson?