Former San Francisco Giants star Buster Posey alleged that pitching phenom Shohei Ohtani turned down an offer from the the team over the deterioration of the city.
Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster deal earlier this week.
According to NBC Bay Area, Ohtani’s performance as both a powerful batter and a talented pitcher is comparable to that of Babe Ruth during the same stage of his career.
Ohtani’s unique combination of skills is what prompted the Dodgers to secure his services in a lucrative 10-year, $700 million deal.
The reigning AL MVP is NL-bound.
Shohei Ohtani is projected for a huge 2024. 📈 pic.twitter.com/ufrFSMrad8
— MLB (@MLB) December 16, 2023
The Dodgers were reportedly not the only California MLB team to offer the pitcher such an eye-watering contract.
The San Francisco Giants presenting Ohtani with an offer that was almost identical to the Dodgers’, but sports commentators claimed that the levels of crime, homelessness, and drug use in the city tanked the deal.
Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic commented that Ohtani exhibited a preference for the Dodgers due to his enjoyment of the area.
“When it comes to Shohei Ohtani, they recognized that he had a comfort level in Southern California, and that was going to be a difficult thing,” he stated.
“There’s been a bit of uneasiness with the city itself as far as the state of the city with crime and drugs,” Posey told Baggarly. “There was some reservation.”
According to San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who represents the district where the Giants play, Ohtani isn’t the only free agent to worry about signing with the team.
Apparently one of the main turnoffs for Shohei Ohtani signing with the Giants was the city of San Francisco itself 😳
Will the uneasiness about living in SF play a role in limiting the Giants’ ability to sign other BIG TIME free agents? pic.twitter.com/9bfhFSYfV6
— No Filter Network (@NoFilterNet) December 14, 2023
“What I heard from Buster Posey is what I have heard from large employers and what I have heard from businesses that San Francisco needs to do a better job at progress on its public safety challenges,” he remarked.
To address this reputational issue, Dorsey has been actively advocating for increased police staffing.
“If we can’t make progress on police staffing, we’re going to have a hard time making progress on anything,” he added.
“And in some ways, I think this reputational issue that is playing out now with a Major League Baseball player is emblematic of why we need to take this seriously.”
Earlier this year, Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan slammed San Francisco for being a “failed state.”
During a recent conversation with actor Gabriel Iglesias, they discussed how the city’s rate of crime is “next level.”
“San Francisco is the worst, San Francisco is like a failed state. San Francisco might as well be Libya, that place is wild,” Rogan began.
"San Francisco is the worst. San Francisco is a failed state. It might as well be Libya." pic.twitter.com/ucRcBGhnUK
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) September 1, 2023
Iglesias noted how so many businesses are closing in the Bay Area, that “it’s becoming a ghost town.”
“No one’s stopping anybody from doing anything,” Rogan said about the crime.
“It’s crazy how quick San Francisco has [declined]. Everyone’s pulling out of there.”
He also spoke about the escalation of the city’s homeless population and skyrocketing drug use.
“So many homeless people down there, it is insane the amount of tent cities everywhere you look,” Rogan noted. “And then there’s open-air drug use and it’s tolerated.”
He also blasted San Francisco lawmakers for profiteering off the proceeds allocated to mitigate the city’s problem areas.
“We need more funding, we’re very close to cracking down on this problem, we’re going to need more funding,” he satirized politician’s pleas.
“If the homeless problem goes away, they don’t have a job anymore. So they are going to make sure it’s manageable,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers managed to sweeten Ohtani’s high-paying deal by sharing a six-year-old video from former LA Lakers star, the late Kobe Bryant.
In the video, which was filmed in 2017 as a favor to the MLB team, Bryant reportedly said that there was “no better place in the world to win than Los Angeles.”
He also added that there was no better to win with in baseball than the Dodgers.
The video was played for Ohtani during the team’s pitch for him to sign with their organization.
“That was one of the highlights of the whole meeting,” he told ESPN.
“I was really surprised to see it. It was a strong and touching message.”