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Opening Day Bombshell: Shohei Ohtani's Translator And Best Friend Ippei Mizuhara Fired By Dodgers After Being Accused Of Stealing Millions From Shohei And Illegally Gambling

Christian Petersen. Getty Images.

Ippei Mizuhara had life all figured out. Somehow someway he attached himself to the hip of the greatest baseball player in the world. Since 2017, Ippei joined forces with Shohei Ohtani to be his translator and best friend. They became completely inseparable over the years. Whatever Ohtani did, Ippei was there. 

After Ohtani signed his mega deal with the Dodgers this offseason, Ippei was immediately hired by the Dodgers. Dude had it made. All he had to do was refrain from 1) murdering someone or 2) engage in illegal gambling. Honestly, if Shohei didn't care for the person, I'm sure rule number 1 could be adjusted and swept under the rug. Option two though, is a big no-no. There's nothing you can do these days in sports when gambling is involved. It's astonishing that people in the NFL still get in trouble for it after how much it's been hammered home. If you’re in pro sports in any fashion STAY AWAY FROM GAMBLING. 

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Welp...

(ESPN) The Los Angeles Dodgers interpreter for Shohei Ohtani was fired Wednesday afternoon after questions surrounding at least $4.5 million in wire transfers sent from Ohtani's bank account to a bookmaking operation set off a series of events.

Ippei Mizuhara, the longtime friend and interpreter for Ohtani, incurred the gambling debts to a Southern California bookmaking operation that is under federal investigation, multiple sources told ESPN. How he came to lose his job started with reporters asking questions about the wire transfers.

Obviously details are still pouring in here and I'm sure there's more to uncover, but what seems to be going on is that Ohtani attempted to cover millions of dollars worth of illegal gambling debt for Ippei. That’s at least what we’re being told to believe. The Southern California illegal gambling ring that's involved here is currently under investigation. Once the wire transfers came to light, the reporters started digging in. 

The developments this week came as federal investigators are examining the operation run by Southern California bookmaker Mathew Bowyer. The wire-transfer payments were sent from Ohtani's account to an associate of Bowyer's, according to multiple sources and bank data reviewed by ESPN. Multiple sources, including Mizuhara, told ESPN that Ohtani does not gamble, and that the funds covered Mizuhara's losses.

In the Tuesday interview arranged by Ohtani's spokesman, Mizuhara, 39, told ESPN that he asked Ohtani last year to pay off his gambling debt, which multiple sources said had ballooned to at least $4.5 million. 

Dude all you had to do was be Shohei's best friend while also staying clear of gambling and life was your oyster. He was raking in anywhere from $300k-$500k a year just to be a great friend. One of the greatest gigs in the world. 

He was everywhere with Ohtani. They'd even go over scouting reports together. Ippei and his wife were photographed flying to South Korea with Ohtani for these opening two games against the Padres. 

For christ's sakes he was seen in the dugout during Game 1 this morning!

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Now when a story as serious as this drops involving a player of Ohtani’s magnitude, surely people are going to ask questions about the two-way superstar's involvement. Initially it seems like Ippei did an interview with ESPN where he revealed the gambling debt and explained how Ohtani sent the money over to help him out. Since then someone speaking on Ohtani's behalf has stepped in, disputed that ESPN interview, and claimed this was massive theft. Is that getting the story straight or covering Shohei's ass? There already being multiple stories here is troubling. 

Initially, a spokesman for Ohtani told ESPN the slugger had transferred the funds to cover Mizuhara's gambling debt. The spokesman presented Mizuhara to ESPN for a 90-minute interview Tuesday night, during which Mizuhara laid out his account in great detail. However, as ESPN prepared to publish the story Wednesday, the spokesman disavowed Mizuhara's account and said Ohtani's lawyers would issue a statement.

"In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities," read the statement from Berk Brettler LLP.

Something is a little fishy there. 

After Ohtani agreed to pay the debts, Mizuhara said on Tuesday, Ohtani logged onto his own computer and sent the wire transfers under Mizuhara's supervision in installments over several months last year. They added "loan" to the description field in the transactions.

"We had to add a description for the wire," Mizuhara said. "I think Matt [Bowyer] might have told me to just put 'loan.' You had to put something." Asked why Ohtani didn't simply give him the money instead of paying Bowyer's associate directly, Mizuhara said Ohtani didn't trust him with the money. "He didn't want me to gamble it away," Mizuhara said. Mizuhara said he told Ohtani he would pay him back.

When an ESPN reporter asked Ohtani's camp about the allegation from Mizuhara that Ohtani was present and helped move the funds and that he was going to be paid back, the spokesman contacted Ohtani's attorneys, who then issued the statement saying he was the victim of a "massive theft."

This story is fucking nuts. Of all the people to get in trouble it's Shohei's innocent-looking best friend/translator/confidant/right hand man. But is there more to this? There HAS to be. Is Ippei taking the hit for something bigger? The multiple story aspect to this leaves a ton of holes. I'm not making accusations of any kind, just simply asking questions. Are we supposed to believe this was an interaction between a guy who fucked over his best friend and stole millions from him? 

If Ohtani's bank account was sending wire transfers to an illegal bookmaker I can't imagine MLB is going to love that. Feels like the actual story is his translator got himself into a ton of gambling debt and asked Ohtani for help --> important people found out about this--->translator initially says it's all his fault and Ohtani simply helped him pay off the bookmaker--->Ohtani team realizes that makes him look bad so they deny that whole story and come up with the theft story--- the translator then says Ohtani had no idea about the gambling issue in an effort to get on the same page and not get anyone else in trouble.  

So far Ippei has been adamant that baseball was not gambled on here. He also was clear that Shohei was not the one betting. Could you imagine if either of those statements are false though? Good lord. Day one of the baseball season and this drops? Unbelievable. Can’t wait for Game 2 tomorrow!