Debt-Dodger: A Curveball for Ohtani

03/21/2024 Debt-Dodger: A Curveball for Ohtani

By: Jeff Yoder

Dodgers Fire Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Amid Allegation of ‘Massive Theft’ ($4.5 Million)

Chaos has clouded the MLB’s Seoul Series this week after Dodgers’ superstar Shohei Ohtani became the target of attacks. The Dodgers won yesterday morning’s MLB opener against the Padres (5-2), but that game was initially in jeopardy due to a bomb threat hoax that targeted Ohtani. A day later, the Dodgers fired Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, after a mishandled gambling debt became the focus of clubhouse discussions. This wasn’t just a few bucks wagered through FanDuel or DraftKings, but $4.5 million owed to an illegal bookmaking operation in California.


What Happened? Questions began after a federal investigation was launched into massive wire transfers sent from Ohtani’s bank accounts to Mathew Bowyer, an illegal bookkeeper. Initially, a spokesman for Ohtani claimed he was covering Mizuhara’s gambling debts. That turned out to be false (per reports) after Mizuhara walked back comments, and Ohtani’s lawyers said the slugger was the victim of ‘massive theft.’ It was reported that Mizuhara placed major bets on international soccer, NBA, NFL, and not baseball, as early as 2021. The losses eventually snowballed into $4.5 million in debt.


The revelation came on Opening Day for the Dodgers, after a win in Asia, and just months after Ohtani signed the richest contract in sports history — 10 years, $700 million. Mizuhara was also contracted by the Dodgers, and he’s been Ohtani’s translator since 2018. Some pieces of the story still don’t add up, and a lot of unverified facts continue to swirl. To be continued…


Read More

NY Post: Shohei Ohtani Camp Changed Its Tune on Interpreter’s $4.5 Million Gambling Debt

Yahoo! Sports: Ohtani Interpreter Scandal: Piecing Together the Confusing Timeline, Based on What We’ve Been Told So Far


Photo: Media News Group / Pasadena Star / Getty Images