A curious spectacle unfolded in the skies on Friday as thousands of baseball fans around the world turned their attention to a Bombardier Global 5000 private jet. The aircraft, making its way from Los Angeles to Toronto, became the most tracked flight worldwide in a frenzy fueled by rumors that Japanese baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani was on board, potentially heading to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Unfolding of the Tracking Phenomenon
The tracking obsession began innocently enough: a fan posted a screenshot of the jet's flight path. Things escalated when Jon Morosi, an insider at MLB Network, reported that Ohtani was indeed on his way to Toronto. At the height of the tracking mania, FlightRadar24 recorded more than 17,000 people following the jet's journey — a testament to the allure of the baseball star and the intrigue of his highly secretive free agency period.
The Truth Behind the Flight
However, the excitement was soon deflated by a tweet from USA TODAY's baseball insider Bob Nightengale, stating that Ohtani was not on the flight. The jet was later confirmed to be carrying Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec, not the coveted player. Subsequently, Morosi issued an apology for the inaccurate report that had unwittingly sent baseball fans and the internet into a whirlwind of speculation.
Ohtani's Record-Breaking Contract with the Dodgers
Amidst the tracking frenzy, the real story was taking place on the ground. Ohtani made history by signing a 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the largest contract in North American professional sports history. This colossal deal surpasses the previous record held by Patrick Mahomes, who inked a $450 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. While the tracking spectacle provided an unusual diversion, the real drama was unfolding in the boardrooms of the Dodgers, culminating in a deal that cements Ohtani's status as the highest-paid athlete in North American sports.