'Drake curse' lives on after Shohei Ohtani-Blue Jays rumors never pan out

Toronto Blue Jays fans got maybe the worst false alarm of all-time, and Drake might have played a role in it.

Throughout Friday, there were rumors circulating that Shohei Ohtani was traveling to meet, and potentially sign with, the Canadian ball club.

A report from MLB Network on Friday said that Ohtani’s decision was “imminent,” and shortly afterward, it caught wind on the internet that there was a plane flying to Toronto that had taken off from Anaheim, where Ohtani had spent his previous six seasons.

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Drake came to the defense of a fan after throwing a towel her way and causing a commotion in the stands. (Prince Williams/Wireimage/Getty Images)

MLB Network then reported that Ohtani was, in fact, on his way to Toronto, which got Blue Jays fans hyped.

One of those Blue Jays fans was rapper Drake, who took to his Instagram story to either convince Ohtani to sign with the Jays or celebrate him possibly already doing so.

The Toronto-based artist posted a photo to his Instagram story of him walking up a set of stairs in Ohtani’s 2023 All-Star Game jersey.

The rapper has often been the butt of jokes that he is a curse. Often after meeting athletes, their teams lose, notably the 2016 Golden State Warriors and Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2019 national championship. Most of the jokes have been put to rest since his hometown Toronto Raptors won the NBA Finals in 2019, but they’ll be back up and running after this.

That’s because Blue Jays fans were let down on Saturday afternoon, when Ohtani signed a record-shattering $700 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Drake also placed an $850,000 wager on Logan Paul to knock out Dillon Danis back in October, but Paul actually won by disqualification.

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani bats against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning during the first baseball game of a doubleheader, Thursday, July 27, 2023, in Detroit.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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Thousands of people wound up searching for the viral flight online, patiently waiting for what they thought was Ohtani’s arrival in the 4 p.m. hour. However, it was actually Canadian businessman and “Shark Tank” investor Robert Herjavec and his family on the flight.

MLB Network called the reports that Ohtani was en route to Toronto “inaccurate” and regretted the “mistake.”

The 10-year pact for Ohtani is a record for North American sports by a wide margin. Patrick Mahomes’ $450 million was the previous record (although not all of it is guaranteed), and Ohtani shattered his former teammate Mike Trout’s then-MLB record of $426 million (all of that is).

Ohtani just won his second unanimous MVP in three seasons. (He would have won in 2022 also, had it not been for Aaron Judge’s record-breaking 62-homer season where he was in a Triple Crown race.)

Shohei Ohtani roars after strikeout

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani celebrates after striking out Houston Astros’ J.J. Matijevic to end the top of the sixth inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Anaheim, California.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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At the plate, Ohtani led the majors in 2023 with a .654 slugging percentage and 1.066 OPS; his .412 on-base percentage was second; his 44 homers were fourth; and his .304 average was ranked ninth. 

Ohtani was also brilliant on the mound, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched. Among pitchers who threw 130.0 innings, his ERA was the ninth-lowest in MLB, and his K/9 was sixth. Among AL pitchers with that number of innings, he ranked fifth and third, respectively. His 10.0 WAR, by far, led the majors; Mookie Betts, who is now Ohtani’s teammate, ranked second with 8.3.

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