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Arms crossed, Michael O’Hoppe paced outside the Oakland Coliseum on Thursday eagerly awaiting the exact moment he would be let inside to gear up for rookie son Logan catching for the Los Angeles Angels on opening day.
With superstar Shohei Ohtani on the mound, no less.
“It’s bigger than the dream — he’s catching Shohei Ohtani on opening day. It’s crazy,” mom Angela O’Hoppe said of seeing her son become the youngest Angels catcher to start a season opener.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound O’Hoppe, the lone rookie on the Angels’ opening-day roster, was in the starting lineup against the Oakland Athletics at 23 years, 49 days old. Buck Rodgers was previously the youngest Angels catcher to start an opener at 23 years, 237 days old in 1962.
O’Hoppe also became the first rookie catcher to start on opening day for the Angels since Bengie Molina in 2000.
“He got his size from me,” cracked his overjoyed father, who already beat the odds by surviving non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2021 after doctors gave him less than a year to live.
Michael watched intently from the warning track dirt behind the cage as Logan took his pregame cuts.
His family and close friends were thrilled and overcome with emotion. Hard to imagine it all happening, let alone this soon for the 23rd-round draft pick — 677th overall — out of Saint John the Baptist in West Islip. He was raised in Sayville.
Angels manager Phil Nevin asked O’Hoppe to grab his phone so they could call Michael — he was working and didn’t take the video call — with the news, and once the family found out they immediately made plans to get to the Bay Area. And what amazing timing: O’Hoppe’s twin sister, Mel, begins a new job in Southern California on Monday, so father and daughter will drive down this weekend.
“I can’t believe it,” Logan O’Hoppe said. “It’s crazy.”
Then he was off to the first of several pregame meetings, including one with Ohtani.
In the game, Logan batted .333 and hit the Angels’ first RBI of the season (watch it below).
What a debut.
Top: Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O’Hoppe, right, greets friends and family prior to the team’s opening day baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, March 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)