New York Yankees Capitalizing on Shohei Ohtani's Popularity With Rare Aaron Judge Bobblehead

Jun 7, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) warms up in the outfield before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) warms up in the outfield before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Anyone who thought the Shohei Ohtani hype train might be slowed by the elbow surgery that's prevented him from pitching in 2024 underestimated the power of merchandise sales.

Forget Los Angeles, where Dodger fans have literally waited hours in line to scoop up bobbleheads commemorating the team's $700 million player. One of the most eye-popping developments of Ohtani's first season in a Dodgers uniform has been the willingness of opposing teams to slap Ohtani's name and image on anything in their team stores.

When the Dodgers visited Cincinnati to play the Reds in May, there were t-shirts for sale featuring Ohtani and Elly De La Cruz, the Reds' star shortstop in the official team store at Great American Ball Park.

It stands to reason that the Reds, who haven't won a playoff game in 12 years, might need the star power of a visiting player to move merchandise. But the New York Yankees?

They're not above it, either.

The co-branded Yankees/Dodgers Aaron Judge/Shohei Ohtani bobblehead isn't the only bit of Ohtani merchandise available this weekend at Yankee Stadium, either.

Once is a fluke. Twice is a trend. Expect every team to follow the Yankees' and Reds' lead this season by making Ohtani merchandise available wherever the Dodgers travel. The Yankees and Dodgers rank first and second in road attendance this season — no surprise for two of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball history with international fan bases.

Clearly, Ohtani's star power is a phenomenon of its own that goes beyond the Dodgers brand in its ability to sell swag.


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J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. HOORNSTRA

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for Inside the Dodgers, and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors.