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MLB is Reportedly Not Bothering to Investigate Shohei Ohtani

At the risk of sounding like I'm going full Andy Bernard sycophant on one of my editors, Hubbs did as good a job as anyone could of laying out the myriad of questions surrounding one of the most shocking reports of recent memory:

There's a lot to unpack here. As one would expect when there are $4.5 million in Shoshei Ohtani's funds going to his interpreter to pay off gambling debts. Allegedly. 

Throw a dart at any paragraph here (Note: I do not recommend that you do this; it's a rhetorical device only. Barstool Sports is not liable for any damage to your electronics) and you'll hit something that simply does not add up. But just to reduce this to just a few puzzle pieces that don't seem to fit:

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?

And yes, these and many other elements of this story are problematic issues we should all be curious about. The public deserves answers. But you know who's not the least bit curious? Major League Baseball, apparently. And you know who's not interested in providing answers? Ohtani and the Dodgers.

Source - Ohtani didn’t enter the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse during the 50 minutes reporters were allowed inside before Thursday’s Seoul Series finale against the San Diego Padres. Nor did he so much as venture into the hallway leading from the clubhouse to the dugout, where more than three dozen cameras from English-speaking, Japanese and Korean news outlets awaited during batting practice. His first public sighting came when he emerged onto the on-deck circle in the bottom of the first inning, ripping a first-pitch single off Joe Musgrove and just missing a pair of home runs in the 15-11 loss.

The two-time MVP was guarded at his locker by a pair of team public relations officials postgame. Ohtani exited behind one of the officials without answering any questions before the club boarded its flight back to Los Angeles. …

Mizuhara did not respond to a request for comment. Ohtani is not currently facing discipline, according to an MLB official, nor is he believed to be under active investigation by the league.

What I don't know about running a multi-billion dollar professional sports operation could fill all of Chavez Ravine. But it seems to me that when your league's best player who just signed a record deal with one of your cornerstone franchises might possibly have some degree of involvement in a gambling operation - and at the very least either voluntarily or involuntarily paid the $4.5 million debt of his closest associate, you'd want to get to the bottom of it. Or perhaps explore the mid-levels of it. According to this MLB official, they're not interested in skimming the surface. 

No "active investigation by the league"? Like at at all? Not even that casual questioning like you get on a Law & Order when they pretend the person they're talking to isn't a suspect. "This is just a formality, ma'am. I just need this information for my report and I appreciate your time." Never mind getting Mizuhara into the interrogation room and telling him if he doesn't come clean on everything he knows, the Commissioner's office is going to take it's deal off the table. Not sending Vic Mackey's Strike Team in to raid the illegal operation that got the money. Just nothing. Move along, citizens. Go home, get some rest, and get ready for Opening Day in your town. 

I hate to come this far into a blog and then suddenly pivot to make it all about my team and our dark history with such things. But it's impossible to see how quickly MLB's rapid response team has deployed to clear Ohtani's good name. While the NFL immediately went to the mattresses in 2015 to smear the best player in its sport over a gigantic Nothingburger Royale with cheese. But here we've got baseball facing something that could potentially be truly scandalous, and they can't even muster the level of curiousity you find on a tin of Altoids. 

Sincerely, I hope it's all true and Ohtani's only involvement is as a victim of an embezzlement scheme. The world is a better place with him playing baseball full time. But the Major Leagues aren't doing him, themselves, or the public any favors by pretending this bizarre story isn't worth investigating. The less they say, the worse everybody looks and the sketchier this all seems.