Angels Fans Gather At Angel Stadium To Grieve Shohei Ohtani’s Move To Dodgers
MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A day that had felt inevitable for the better part of Shohei Ohtani’s final season with the Los Angeles Angels finally came to fruition on Saturday.

Ohtani announced that he would be signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending weeks of speculation. That contract, worth a historic $700 million over 10 years, puts an end to an exciting, yet wildly disappointing era in Anaheim.

Ohtani had three of the greatest seasons in baseball history between 2021-2023, and the Angels never managed more than 75 wins in a single year during that stretch. Now, Ohtani goes up the freeway to Chavez Ravine to join a team that has won at least 100 games in five of the last six full seasons.

Ohtani’s decision turned Saturday into a day of mourning for the Angels faithful. Fans gathered outside Angel Stadium to pay their respects to Ohtani’s six years in Anaheim as his mural — which hung outside the home plate entrance gate — was slowly taken down.

And some fans spoke about what Ohtani’s departure means to them, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:

“I have so many memories coming out here watching him,” said Barry Foster, a lifelong Angels fan and Orange resident. “I don’t like to over-dramatize sports. But it feels like someone is just leaving you. … It’s very tough.”

Another fan elaborated on the overwhelming emotions he felt with Ohtani no longer being part of the Angels organization:

“It was six years of excellence,” Cedillo said. “I’ve been an Angels fan my entire life. It feels like a piece of me died.

“I wanted to pay my respects.”

“It’s sad to see it come down,” Cedillo said. “He meant so much to this franchise. We’re a small franchise. To see a superstar like him leave us, it hurts.”

It’s difficult to overstate what Ohtani has meant to the Angels fans and the franchise over the past six years. Despite a lack of on-field success, the Angels were regularly relevant and home to historic performance after historic performance.

Now, fans must find a new reason for excitement with their team, and given the lack of success with two of baseball’s all-time greats on the roster, the search may take longer than anyone hopes.

Shohei Ohtani thanks fans for support

In his announcement message that he was leaving the Angels for the Dodgers, Ohtani took a moment to thank the fans and the organization for their unwavering support over the past six seasons.

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