Is Shohei Ohtani following Hideki Matsui’s lead? Dodgers star’s mysterious wedding announcement reminds fans of bizarre 2008 press conference when Yankees slugger shared a DRAWING of his new bride

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Baseball fans on both sides of the Pacific are still reeling from Shohei Ohtani’s stunning wedding announcement, which came out of the proverbial left field Thursday morning.

Despite constant scrutiny from the American and Japanese media, the $700 million Los Angeles Dodgers star was not known to be dating anyone. Of course, Ohtani’s social media admission that he is “now married” came as an undeniable shock to those who followed his celebrated journey from Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to the Los Angeles Angels and eventually the Dodgers.

And the fact that he didn’t identify his new husband only added to the intrigue. Baseball’s greatest two-way player since Babe Ruth described his new partner as “someone from my native Japan,” but otherwise left this person a complete mystery.

The situation would have been completely unknown to baseball fans had it not been for Hideki Matsui, the celebrated former New York Yankees slugger known to many as Godzilla.

It was 16 years ago that Matsui unveiled his own surprise wedding, only he went a step further by identifying his bride with a bizarre homemade drawing of the woman, which he then shared with reporters.

Hideki Matsui (pictured) is seen holding a drawing of his new bride in March 2008

Shohei Ohtani is off the market, but it's anyone's guess who his new Japanese husband will be

Shohei Ohtani is off the market, but it’s anyone’s guess who his new Japanese husband will be

“I met someone who felt good,” the two-time All-Star told the media gathered at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa. ‘That was it.’

Like other Yankees legends, including Joe DiMaggio and Derek Jeter, Matsui was protective of his private life. And because he didn’t want to reveal the identity of his new wife to the public, the then 33-year-old thought his sketches would suffice. (Not much is actually known about Mrs. Matsui other than the fact that she and Hideki have two children together)

“I’ve decided to spend my whole life with her,” Matsui said, holding her photo and showing the silver ring on his left hand.

As the world soon discovered, there was more to it than a simple wedding.

Matsui was already planning to marry his fiancée that year when he, Jeter and teammate Bobby Abreu gambled on which of the three would marry first. So when he convinced the other two Yankees to take part in the bet, Matsui flew back to New York on his day off so he could get married and be declared the winner.

“He won,” Jeter told reporters in Tampa in 2008. “I’m going to give him the money today.”

A specific dollar amount has never been revealed.

“I’m happy for him,” Abreu said. “I’ll have to send him a check.”

Outfielder Bobby Abreu #53 of the New York Yankees celebrates a home run with infielder Derek Jeter #2 against the Boston Red Sox March 17, 2008 at Legends Field in Tampa

Outfielder Bobby Abreu #53 of the New York Yankees smiles during a play against the Boston Red Sox on March 17, 2008 at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida.  The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 8-4

Seen here during Yankees spring training in 2008, Derek Jeter (left) and Bobby Abreu (right) were forced to pay Hideki Matsui after he won a bet by getting married before they did

Matsui’s sudden marriage not only surprised teammates, but also gave then-manager Joe Girardi a reason to chuckle.

“Sometimes you have to get all the information before you place a bet,” Girardi told reporters.

Naturally, fans were reminded of Matsui’s momentous wedding announcement when they heard the news about Ohtani on Thursday.

“What I’m expecting tomorrow,” one fan wrote on X next to a photo of the Yankees slugger holding his new wife’s drawing. “Hideki Matsui style when he got married.”

“I prefer Hideki Matsui’s wife’s announcement where he proudly shows a hand-drawn sketch of his bride,” wrote popular social media personality Norm Charlatan (as: Norm Charlton).

Another fan said, “I hope he can afford a better artist to draw his wife than Matsui.”