Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, right, and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, attend at a news conference ahead of a baseball workout at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, March 16, 2024. Ohtani’s interpreter and close friend has been fired by the Dodgers following allegations of illegal gambling and theft from the Japanese baseball star. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Shohei Ohtani, Ippei Mizuhara Betting Scandal Could Change Baseball

March is supposed to be about one thing: March Madness. Yet, all the way from Seoul, South Korea, Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the center of one of the most interesting, complex, and mysterious scandals in sports.

To briefly recap: Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s longtime friend and translator, apparently has a massive gambling problem. On Tuesday, Mizuhara told ESPN that he had a debt, to the tune of $4.5 million, to an illegal bookmaker, which was graciously covered by his dear friend Shohei. What a nice guy, right?  

About 24 hours later, Ohtani’s camp changes the story, and now claims that Mizuhara allegedly stole millions of dollars from Ohtani, and will now most likely be facing criminal charges. He was also fired by the LA Dodgers.

So, what changed? Did Shohei Ohtani, who just revealed to everyone he was engaged and subsequently married, not know his close friend was stealing millions and millions of dollars from him? I highly doubt that, because he clearly keeps a tight circle.

It feels like there are two likely scenarios:

1) Ohtani knew about the debts, and decided to wipe them clean because he is a solid dude and a good friend. However, wiring that amount of money to a bookie is still illegal, and now Mizuhara must still face repercussions for his actions, and Shohei might as well.

2) Ohtani was the one gambling, and Mizuhara is the fall guy, because he is a solid friend. This scenario would most likely create the absolute worst outcome for Major League Baseball, forcing them to make a decision on their cash cow that is Ohtani, and also reevaluate what they did to Pete Rose.

However, the report out now is that Mizuhara “stole” millions of dollars from Ohtani. This implies Ohtani did not have knowledge of the situation or the misappropriation of his funds. Which is simply impossible (or at the very least, unbelievable), given the amount that needed to be wired to this bookie; and the authorizations that would need to take place to get that amount out of Ohtani’s bank account. 

Regardless of how you look at the situation, and which story or chain of events you believe, we won’t have any true, concrete answers for quite sometime. The MLB offices are probably on fire right now trying to get real answers, but this is nothing short of a nightmare for them. 

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *