Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Invite Fan, Husband Back After Pressuring Her to Surrender Ohtani Home Run Ball

The Los Angeles Dodgers took some heat for their treatment of the fan who caught Shohei Ohtani’s first home run as a Dodger on Wednesday night. Ambar Roman described her experience to Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain on Thursday.

After denying her request to have Ohtani sign and return the authenticated baseball, Dodger Stadium staff bartered with Roman on the terms of the exchange, eventually giving up two hats signed by Ohtani along with an autographed bat and ball.

“As a Dodger fan, I expected maybe a little bit more warmth, I should say, from them,” Roman said. “But it was just really sad I needed to make a decision right then and there.”

Now, the Dodgers say Roman and her husband, Alexis Valenzuela, have been invited to an on-field experience at Dodger Stadium. The team also said it will review its ballpark processes for retrieving milestone baseballs.

The invitation comes after the team faced some backlash for how it treated Roman. However, the situation merely highlighted a league-wide lack of protocol for how fans are treated after retrieving milestone home runs.

Hopefully the Dodgers’ initial response to Roman — and their subsequent reversal — can spur change not only in Los Angeles, but wherever valuable home run balls are caught.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at


  1. She should have asked for an Ohtani signed game jersey plus the other stuff. Or Ohtani could have offered $10,000 for the ball. Or he could have given her a “Joe Kelly’s wife Porche” for the ball. At any rate, I can see why he would want THAT ball back.

    1. the best negotiating line is: “The least I’m willing to accept is … the most you’re willing to give.”

  2. Bad marks all the way around for the Dodgers franchise. This was customer service at its worst. Ambar Roman should have been treated like royalty, not separated from her husband and pressured to part with the ball.

    It’s very likely that no other professional sports operation exerts near the effort nor spends the money to craft and refine their public image like the Dodgers do. I’m a lifelong fan and we all know there has been a major change in that since Guggenheim bought the team. It’s always happy day in happy land when it’s the Dodgers.

    They don’t do the right thing until checking which way the wind blows (public sentiment), then adjust accordingly. We all know that, too. Well, the public — and some media members — pushed back on how the Dodgers treated Ms. Roman, and now team officials have buckled, invit5ing the Romans back for another day at the stadium. It’s not quite the $100,000 an auction house said the ball was worth. It’s not quite a Porsche like Joe Kelly’s wife got. IT’S A START. They now need to do more. Examples:

    1. Let her throw out the first pitch at a game. Ohtani catches the pitch.
    2. She gets a behind-the-scenes tour of Dodger Stadium, clubhouse included, and meets players and coaches.
    3. $1,000 in merch.
    4. Two tickets (good reserved seats) for a dozen games of her choice.


    1. Lunch with Ohtani
    2. The $1,000 merch.
    3. The tickets

    They did her wrong and while Roman said she felt pressured, she still said she was grateful. She didn’t badmouth the team. Imagine if a fan was treated so poorly in New York, Philly, or Boston. Now the team needs to step up and make good on that perfect Dodgers image.

    Yes, there needs to be something of a standard set for this type of event. You can always adjust on the rewards, given the nature of the ball’s expected value.

    Listen up Dodgers…

    • Take the fan to a secure location, WITH FAMILY MEMBERS, and make them comfortable.
    • Have a team official (with a bright and perky personality…which disqualifies Friedman) meet with them.
    • Let them know they can keep the ball and that the team will authenticate it.
    • Negotiate in good faith (if you’ve made them feel special, you’ll likely get the ball back), offering valuable options.
    • If they surrender the ball, it has to be handed over to the player, with media assembled.
    • Continue to treat fan(s) like the Dodgers family members they are.

    My business is training, and customer service is a passion. So many companies say it matters to them, then they do what the Dodgers did, showing their true colors.

    If the Dodgers are smart, they’ll surprise the Romans with some combination of my examples above — thereby setting the standard for everybody else.

  3. Dodgers should be ashamed with their treatment of her. I would be hiring an attorney. Ohtani should have at least met her face to face. He needs to buy her a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.

    1. They are ashamed. That’s the entire point of the article. You think Ohtani should buy her a car now?? Gimme a break dude. He hit a homerun. He didn’t ask security to be jerks.

    2. I agree that she was dissed BUT that said, Take a deep breath….. hiring an attorney? Gimme a break!
      Bottom line: MLB needs to figure this issue out. In the meantime: everybody, please just make nice; the person who initially handled this is probably minimum wage and being quietly schooled about PR.

    1. A tour of the facility. Maybe a pregame meet and greet with some of the players. Could mean anything.

  4. I’d expect this from say the Yankees, but the Dodgers? Poor form. Really, poor form. Maybe it will sit in his showcase forever, maybe he’ll sell it for a bunch, but for a multibillion dollar organization to strongarm a paying fan, ostensibly on behalf of a someone who projects to earn in excess of a billion during and thru their playing career, that’s inexcusable. It might be a trinket to him or his display case, or to sell at a future date for thousands, I mean how much would it be worth in Japan? But to strongarm her for a pittance, that’s inexcusable. To her it would probably be either the souvenir of a lifetime, or perhaps a new or slightly used car. To the team or Otani, it’s just part of a collection, nothing that is really going to be noticed if it’s there or not.

    Grow up MLB, Dodgers and Otani, and take care of the people paying your salary and cheering for you in the stands.

  5. Stop with this already. Sugartits is a grown woman who can make decisions on her own. This isn’t the 1800’s. With the media and “fans” crying about everything Ohtani is going to regret signing here!

  6. She should contact Ippei Mizuhara and see if he can transfer some Shohei funds.

    The Dodgers should have authenticated the ball and let her keep it. It was her right to negotiate directly with Shohei. She got rolled by the Dodgers.

  7. She should’ve insisted in talking to management. The bottom feeders that are sent out to “negotiate” are just that. “Bottom feeders”.

  8. I think she should of been able to keep the ball with no pressure put on her. Ohtani That Won’t Be Your Last Home run! For The Cost Of Going To A Dodger Game! Fans Deserve More Respect!

  9. I made a legit comment, nothing objectionable, and you guys refused to post it. I never thought Dodgers Nation would try to emulate Yahoo Sports. I thought I had found a serious site that allowed serious discussion. Obviously not.

  10. The worst two things IMHO are the Dodgers refusing to authenticate the ball and not allowing her husband to accompany her to the “negotiation”. The Dodgers need to do much much better.

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