Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers held an introductory press conference to welcome international superstar Shohei Ohtani.
If social media is any indication, Ohtani has already impressed the most decorated member of the organization — and made a personal connection.
Dodgers co-owner Billie Jean King is one of the few people in sports who knows what it’s like to compete at the level of superstardom that Ohtani has attained. After defeating Bobby Riggs during The Battle of the Sexes, she also knows what it’s like to compete with the eyes of the world watching her.
Prior to his press conference, King took to Twitter to offer a welcome to her team’s newest marquee name…
At 3pm PST today, the @Dodgers will welcome #17 Shohei Ohtani.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 14, 2023
#17 has always been a special number for me. It was the number my brother Randy wore when he played professional baseball.
It's going to be a terrific season. pic.twitter.com/jJa7ghJkGf
The thing about free agent introduction days is that, while they draw a lot of attention and live coverage, we usually learn very little that we didn’t already know.
For example, the biggest headline from Ohtani’s media blitz was that his dog is named Dekopin. And the second biggest headline was that an actual grown up used his media credential to ask, “What is your dog’s name?”
But here we have the rare instance of learning a new fact on Shohei Day that’s actually kind of relevant.
King’s younger brother Randy Moffitt played Major League Baseball with the Giants, Astros, and Blue Jays from 1972-83. He put up respectable numbers as a relief pitcher, amassing a 3.65 career ERA over 12 years.
As King noted, the most important number of the day was 17, as it drew a parallel between her direct connection to the game and her team’s biggest star of today.
King frequently pays tribute to Moffitt on social media and her genuine love and admiration for him is readily apparent.
When anyone starts a new job, it always feels better to establish a rapport with their new boss. Thanks to No. 17, Ohtani has already forged an intriguing one with King even before taking a single at bat.