Gathering Facts on Ohtani for the Keyboard Warriors

Matt Lemear Avatar

One thing we know for sure; when the keyboard warriors come out, they come out in droves. Yesterday our site was borderline crucified for simply having an opinion, and only 1 person’s opinion at that. The keyboard warriors demanded facts, though MOST of them provided no facts of their own.

However, in trying to appease the followers and be a “legitimate” sports site, we gathered some facts. Fair warning, though, some of those pesky opinions are going to follow as well. So, if other people’s opinions are not your thing, now would be the time to bow out.

What do we know so far? We know that at some point last year, an illegal bookie named Matthew Bowyer from Orange County, had his house raided by federal officials that were (are) investigating illegal gambling. We also know that during said investigation, federal agents discovered a bank account that had wired money to Bowyer in the amount of $4.5 million. Who was the owner of that bank account? None other than Dodgers Phenom Shohei Ohtani.

Earlier this week, news broke about the investigation and the link to Ohtani’s name. From what I could gather, it appears as though the LA Times was working on an investigative story and were the ones to eventually break the news. It also appears that the MLB and Dodgers officials had no knowledge of the federal investigation until the story was revealed earlier this week. At this point, the story got REAL interesting.

Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, came out and stated that the money was paid by Ohtani to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debts. Having watched Ohtani over the last several years, it is quite apparent that he and Mizuhara are close and certainly appear to have a relationship that is more than just ball player and interpreter. A star player with more money than god helps a friend out when they are in trouble. What is wrong with that?

Well, then suddenly the story changed. Ohtani’s legal team comes out and states that Ohtani was the victim of large theft, referring to the $4.5 million paid to Matthew Bowyer. Not only that, but now Mizuhara also changes his story. Now Mizuhara states that he was the one who illegally transferred the money without Ohtani’s knowledge and that Shohei was in no way ever involved. Now I’m certainly not rich and will never have $4.5 million to give to a friend or be stolen by a friend. However, I am smart enough to know that transferring that much money from someone’s bank account is VERY difficult to do without them knowing or being involved.

The whole problem I have with this entire situation is 1. Why did Ippei Mizuhara say Ohtani was helping him, but then changed his tune once Ohtani’s legal team released a statement? 2. How would Mizuhara have been able to transfer that amount of money from Ohtani’s account without confirmation from the financial institute that Ohtani was actually approving it? 3. Ohtani signed the biggest contract in MLB history, and then deferred the majority of it to years down the road, something that had not been done before. Does that not seem a little suspicious now that we know what we know? Could it just be a bad coincidence? Sure.

Regardless of what the true story is, or what any of us believe, Ohtani could be in legal trouble either way. MLB players are allowed to bet on sports that are not considered “diamond sports.” One problem, sports betting is illegal in California, oh and it’s also illegal to bet through a bookie! So if Mizuhara’s original story is true, and Ohtani was just trying to be a good friend and help, he still broke the law even if unintentionally. The best outcome for Ohtani would be for the truth to be what his legal team said and the whole thing is a theft. Unfortunately, I think we have all learned in life that a persons representatives are always going to paint a picture that benefits their client.

For baseball’s sake and Ohtani’s sake, I hope the whole thing was a text by Mizuhara. Ohtani would likely face no discipline from the league and no charges from federal authorities if it was a theft and Ohtani was an unlucky victim. Whatever happens, the next few weeks/months are going to be interesting as more and more details come out.

Gathering Facts on Ohtani for the Keyboard Warriors

Matt Lemear Avatar

One response to “Gathering Facts on Ohtani for the Keyboard Warriors”

  1. Kevin Johnson Avatar
    Kevin Johnson

    Obviously this story is going to be crazy, long drawn out. He sakd/he said. Obviously his friend would be looking at prison time with that sort of money. IMO is MLB will all of a sudden open up the door to Rose and Shoeless Joe to be allowed into the HOF. They don’t want to lose the Japanese market

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