While the first major domino of the 2023 MLB offseason fell earlier this week, with Juan Soto being traded to the New York Yankees, the biggest domino has yet to fall. WIth superstar Shohei Ohtani yet to make a decision regarding his future, digital sleuths have been hard at work trying to crack the case.
And they believed a major breakthrough in that effort came on Friday.
Let’s start here. Momentum has been building throughout the week leading into Friday that the Toronto Blue Jays were certainly in the running for the slugger’s services. That reached a boiling point when Jon Morosi of the MLB Network reported early on Friday morning that an Ohtani decision could be “imminent:”
And quickly followed with this:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 8, 2023
That is when digital sleuths got to work. And later on Friday morning, word worked its way through social media that a flight plan had been filed for a private jet taking off from John Wayne Airport in the Los Angeles area, with Toronto as the destination:
Who knows if this is anything related to Shohei Ohtani but credit “X” users who have identified a private Jet scheduled this morning to fly from Anaheim to Toronto & even if it is…is it a visit to Toronto since he went to Dunedin last Monday? Or is he going to sign? Who knows pic.twitter.com/sMgsUk4Yjs
— Jim Bowden⚾️ (@JimBowdenGM) December 8, 2023
The connection was immediately made to Ohtani. Could this be a visit? Or a trip to announce that he was signing with the Blue Jays?
The piece were in place. A private flight, a solid report, and all in the wake of various reports that the Blue Jays were at least one of the finalists in the Ohtani sweepstakes.
The stage was set for an incredible reveal.
Air traffic controllers welcomed the plane to Toronto, somewhat tongue-in-cheek:
Here’s the moment Pearson Airport ground control cheekily announced to the plane that had just landed “very warm welcome, to everybody that may or may not be on board, to Toronto, welcome in”
— ℳatt (@matttomic) December 8, 2023
The speculation even had Drake posting this image on Instagram, of him wearing an All-Star Ohtani jersey:
One … slight problem.
Ohtani was not on the flight.
Rather it was Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec and his family, also known for his turn on “Shark Tank:”
Our CBC photographer Evan Mitsui is messaging me from Pearson Airport right now.
He confirms new reports that Ohtani was NOT on the private jet.
It was in fact carrying Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec and his family.
— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) December 8, 2023
While Blue Jays fans were left to lick their wounds, Herjavec had some fun with the situation:
Good job everyone, let’s try again next week.