Dipoto: ‘Pretty cool’ how Mariners fans chanted for Ohtani

Jul 13, 2023, 10:26 AM | Updated: 11:06 am

Seattle Mariners Shohei Ohtani...

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels reacts during the 93rd MLB All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park on July 11, 2023 in Seattle. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

There was no shortage of storylines at the 2023 MLB All-Star Game that the Seattle Mariners hosted at T-Mobile Park.

M’s star Julio Rodríguez stole the show in the Home Run Derby on Monday before coming up as the potential go-ahead run in the ninth inning for the American League.

Salk: Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez a rare star who truly plays for the fans

The National League also wound up winning the game to snap a nine-game losing streak to the AL.

But what really had the baseball world – Seattle specifically – buzzing was the greatest player in the game, Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani didn’t pitch in the game or really do much in the way of offense – he went 0-1 with a walk and strikeout. But during his two plate appearances, a park filled with mostly Mariners fans screamed down at Ohtani, chanting “Come To Seattle.” Ohtani is set to be a free agent after the conclusion of this season.

Ohtani acknowledged the chants after he was pulled from the game, saying he’d never heard anything like that before in his career. Rodríguez said he and Ohtani talked a bit during the All-Star week, but joked with media members that it was a secret what the two discussed.

Those chants, naturally, came up during Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto’s weekly show on Seattle Sports.

“I don’t want to get you in any trouble. I know that you can only say so much about other players that don’t play for your organization. But I’m sure you heard the crowd chanting ‘Come To Seattle.’ What did you make of that?” Brock and Salk host Mike Salk asked Dipoto.

“Who were they talking about?” Dipoto jokingly replied.

“I thought it was pretty cool, actually,” Dipoto went on to say. ” … It had to feel good if you were Shohei Ohtani to realize that a rival club, that the fanbase would react that way. He’s a special player having a special year, and I thought it was really cool that our fans showed him that type of adoration, because those were thoughts not being expressed by greater Major League Baseball fans who flew into Seattle. Those were Mariners fans, and it was pretty cool.”

Salk noted that not all players from other AL West teams received that same kind of treatment.

“Yeah, I don’t think that (Houston Astros outfielder) Kyle Tucker was really hearing the ‘Come To Seattle’ chants,” Dipoto joked. “But all the same, another great player. But it was just a different feel (with Ohtani). And there’s so many stories, the underlying stories with what Shohei is doing right now, kind of a modern day Babe Ruth who is having the greatest year in his career, which is tracking is one of the greatest years in baseball history, regardless of time and place.

“To appreciate that, to appreciate the young star in his home ballpark, to appreciate 30-some odd first time All-Stars, it’s a pretty cool thing. And it’s a shame that it only happens once in a couple of generations that you get to host an All-Star game, but this is going to be one just like 2001 where it’s going to be a long time before people forget the event, which, that’s the idea. That’s part of the mission.”

Salk had one more question regarding Ohtani and the Mariners.

“Maybe you can’t answer this and maybe the answer is so obvious I shouldn’t even ask it, but should he become available, I assume you would want to acquire a player like Shohei Ohtani?” he asked.

Replied Dipoto, “I probably can’t answer that directly but to say that I think there are 29 teams that would be very interested in acquiring Shohei Ohtani.”

Listen to every Jerry Dipoto Show at this link.

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Dipoto: ‘Pretty cool’ how Mariners fans chanted for Ohtani