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Dodgers’ First Shohei Ohtani Bobblehead Giveaway Creates ‘A Stir’ and Snarls Stadium Traffic

LOS ANGELES  — The first Shohei Ohtani bobblehead giveaway of the season snarled traffic outside Dodger Stadium on Thursday and created long lines of eager fans.

Cars snaked the roadways around Chavez Ravine and stadium parking lots were filling up quickly two hours before the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Cincinnati Reds in a city known for fans showing up late and leaving early. A line of fans waited on the sidewalk outside the main gate before it opened.

“Shohei creates a stir,” manager Dave Roberts said before the game. “I can’t imagine what it’s like outside. It’s great for Shohei and it’s good for the Dodgers.”

Only the first 40,000 fans received the bobblehead, which depicts a smiling Ohtani with his bat perched above his left shoulder. The box’s design features Japanese anime.

Bobbleheads of Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani are given to fans before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Los Angeles, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The giveaway attracted a sellout crowd of 53,527 — the largest in the majors this season and the most at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 20, 2019.

“It’s going to be a hot-ticket item,” Roberts said. “The more I see him every day the more I realize how special of a person and a ballplayer he is.”

On eBay, the Ohtani giveaway was being offered for $150 and up with sellers advertising it as new in the box.

As a surprise, 1,700 road gray jersey bobbleheads were randomly mixed in with the giveaway. One was listed for $2,300 on eBay.

Game tickets were going from $168 to $388 with fees included on Stubhub.

Roberts and the rest of the Dodgers didn’t need to worry about getting their hands on the souvenir. Boxes were sitting in each player’s locker before the game.

“I get one for each bobblehead night,” Roberts said, “so I’ve got quite the collection.”

The Dodgers have scheduled three other Ohtani giveaways this season to mark his first year with the team after spending six seasons in Anaheim with the Angels. They will offer a hat, a second bobblehead and a shirt.

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