Skip to main content


Ohtani, Dodgers open 2024 MLB season in Seoul on TSN

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Dodgers Yoshinobu Yamamoto Shohei Ohtani - The Canadian Press

Believe it or not, the start of the 2024 Major League Baseball regular season is one day away – even though Opening Day isn’t until March 28.

Baseball fans, set your alarms.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres face off in a two-game series in Seoul, South Korea Wednesday and Thursday, marking the start of the regular season more than one week before the rest of the league kicks things off the following Thursday. It will be the first MLB regular-season game ever played in South Korea.

Watch first pitch LIVE Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT on TSN4, TSN5, and the TSN App.

This, of course, means the official start of the Shohei Ohtani era for the Dodgers.

Ohtani signed the biggest contract in North American sports history this off-season, joining L.A. on a 10-year, $700 million deal that ended one of the most anticipated free agency periods ever.

The reigning American League MVP will likely dig into the box for the first time as a Dodger against friend and fellow Japanese star Yu Darvish, who gets the ball Wednesday for San Diego.
Ohtani and Darvish each starred for the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s NPB League prior to making the jump to MLB. Darvish departed for the Texas Rangers in 2012, and Ohtani made his debut for the Hokkaido-based team just one season later.

The duo has never faced each other in a regular-season game. That should change Wednesday.

“Darvish is somebody I’ve always looked up to," Ohtani told reporters through an interpreter this week in Seoul. "He's someone I really respect as a pitcher.

"I had a chance to work out with him this past off-season," Ohtani added. "He is a good friend of mine. I haven’t faced him up to this point, so I’m very excited to be able to face him finally.”

“Of course, we have trained together in the past, but this time I will be facing him as an opponent,” Darvish said. "So, I will analyze him thoroughly, and I want to face him as a batter without adding too much personal feeling.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday that Ohtani will soon begin a throwing program as he recovers from his second major elbow injury, which will keep him off the mound in 2024. While Roberts did say he will serve primarily as the designated hitter this season, he didn’t rule out the possibility of Ohtani playing the field later in the year. Ohtani has experience playing right field with Hokkaido during his time in NPB.

Ohtani isn’t the only star making his debut for the Dodgers. Tyler Glasnow, the hard-throwing righty acquired via trade from the Tampa Bay Rays in December, will square off with Darvish in the opener. And then in the second game on Thursday, Yoshinobu Yamamoto makes his first regular-season start in Dodger blue against Joe Musgrove.

Yamamoto would have been the crown jewel of just about any off-season not involving Ohtani, signing with the Dodgers for 12 years and $325 million.

Yamamoto joins MLB with as much hype as any pitcher ever coming over from Japan. The 25-year-old spent seven seasons with the Orix Buffaloes and arrives stateside having won three consecutive pitching triple crowns.

He’s pitched in three games this spring, allowing a total of nine earned runs, but does have 14 strikeouts in 9.2 innings.

On the Padres’ side, star shortstop Ha-Seong Kim was the team’s top position players by Wins Above Replacement in 2023 and comes into this season regarded as one of the best infielders in baseball.

Born in Bucheon, a suburb of Seoul, Kim spent five seasons with the Korea Baseball Organization’s Kiwoom Heroes before joining the Padres on a four-year deal starting in 2021. Kim homered twice in a 5-4 San Diego win against the KBO’s LG Twins in an exhibition game Monday at the Gocheok Sky Dome, the same stadium he played in as a member of the Heroes.

“It’s a special moment for me to play in my home country and it makes it even more special to play in the Gocheok Sky Dome because I’ve played here for five years. So, I’m looking forward to it,” Kim told reporters over the weekend.

“As I said before, I’m very honoured to be part of the first Major League Baseball game here in Korea. And I think that this is only possible because of the former Asian players who played in the big leagues. They kind of paved the way for me and other Asian players playing right now.”