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As Shohei Ohtani Announces He Will Speak To Reporters On Monday, We're Now Being Led To Believe His Former Translator Ippei Mizuhara is a Massive Liar Who Never Attended UC Riverside Nor Worked For The Red Sox

JUNG YEON-JE. Getty Images.

The evolving Shohei Ohtani-translator gambling scandal continues to develop. The newest development? We're getting the narrative pushed on us that Ohtani's translator Ippei Mizuhara has a history of lying. 

As The Athletic has pointed out, it seems there's no record of Mizuhara ever graduating or even attending UC Riverside, contrary to what the Angels' media guide has said for years. 

For years, the Los Angeles Angels media guide lists Mizuhara as having graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2007, and that he spent spring training in 2012 working for the New York Yankees as an interpreter for Japanese pitcher Hideki Okajima. Also, multiple news reports noted that Mizuhara served as Okajima’s interpreter in 2010 with the Boston Red Sox — where he reportedly got his first major-league opportunity.

However, as first reported by NBC Los Angeles, the university disputed the notion that Mizuhara had ever attended the school, much less having graduated. “Our university records do not show a student by the name of Ippei Mizuhara having attended UC Riverside,” a school spokesman told The Athletic.

Now is it stunning in any way that the Angels don't run a proper background check on their employees? Of course not, but it does add another layer to the story. We've also got a bit of confusion on whether Ippei ever worked as a translator for Hideki Okajima or the Red Sox. 

Mizhuara’s connection to Okajima seems to have been exaggerated over time. Multiple news reports have linked Mizuhara to Okajima over different periods. That includes a Nippon.com story from 2021 that said Mizuhara was Okajima’s interpreter during the 2010 season with the Red Sox. But in addition to the Red Sox’s denial, archives from the Boston Globe in April and May 2010 name Ryo Shinkawa as Okajima’s interpreter. The team’s media guide from 2010 lists two people as team interpreters that season, but not Mizuhara.

Searches on two different news databases did not bring up results featuring Mizuhara before 2018, when Ohtani first signed with the Angels.

The Red Sox made it certain that they've never done anything with this guy. They want no part of this tomfoolery. They've got enough issues as there is with refusing to pay any players of value. 

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Now if we're being honest, none of then things above are worth getting all too excited about. Maybe it's just me, but I genuinely do not care at all if this translator went to college or not. I sure as hell don't care who he used to translate for. If those lies do get confirmed though it does help paint a better picture of Ippei being a known liar, thus lending more credence to the story that he stole from Ohtani and was completely untrustworthy. Whether you want to believe Ohtani's camp is or isn't pushing that narrative is up to you, but right now they want us to believe Shohei is good and Ippei is bad. 

I'm still stuck on the fact that Ohtani's team changed their story right in front of our faces like we're stupid. A rep from Shohei told ESPN early last week that he knew about the debt. Ippei then gave that 90 minute interview to ESPN and supposedly gave the same account to the Dodgers team after their game on Opening Day. Then all of a sudden Ohtani's lawyers stepped in and disavowed all of that, claiming Ippei stole the money and Ohtani had no idea about any of the gambling debt. Seems fairly clear that they got wind that admitting Shohei was paying off his buddy's gambling debts was very much not legal, hence the audible. 

Remember that a crisis management spokesman for Ohtani initially gave this quote to ESPN on his behalf.

"'Yeah, I sent several large payments. That's the maximum amount I could send.'"

And we're just supposed to forget that happened? So Ohtani's team initially gave the same story to ESPN as Ippei did, which the lawyers eventually shot down. Yeah none of this holds water. They found out their original stance was no good and switched it up to save their asses. 

Well guess who is back and ready to talk to the media? 

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So what actually happens tomorrow? I only see these possibilities:

1) Ohtani is approached by reporters in passing tomorrow and simply gives them a friendly "hello," thus satisfying the above tweet. No other quotes are exchanged and the mystery continues. 

2) Ohtani says he'd love to comment but can't since this is an on-going federal investigation. All we get is a bunch of PR mumbo jumbo, much to our chagrin. 

3) Ohtani gives a heartfelt account of what happened, detailing the betrayal of his long-time best friend. He appears visibly shook and we're forced to believe him because how could anyone actually stay mad at him? 

4) Shohei goes rogue and fully admits to his wrong-doings, going as far to admit he was the one who gambled on baseball. He retires from the sport effective immediately. As he walks away from the shell shocking media session, Bob Nightengale notices something is off and follows Ohtani around the corner of the complex. The person appearing as Ohtani rips off his face in Mission Impossible style, revealing it was in fact Ippei speaking the entire time while wearing a mask. Bob tweets his account of the moment, but in classic Bob fashion no one can understand anything that he's trying to say. Nightengale never realizes the botched tweet and goes along with his business without a care in the world. Years go by with the feds unable to locate Ohtani until years from now he breaks captivity and shows up like Rosemund Pike in Gone Girl out of the blue to tell his side of the story. A manhunt for Ippei begins, but he's never seen or heard from again. With no way to prove his side of the story, Ohtani is arrested and banned from baseball for life. Decades from now Ippei sends out a notes app tweet revealing everything, but the damage has been done.  

Realistically we get the second scenario tomorrow, but who the hell knows? We're still in the very early stages here and anything is possible. For the good of the game and pure enjoyment, I hope nothing serious comes of this on Ohtani's side. Yes the story itself and the unravellings of all the details are fascinating to follow, but it would suck so much if Ohtani is actually the bad guy here. It's classic baseball getting in their own way. First the see through pants, now Ippei's gambling saga. Baseball gonna baseball. Opening Day in the United States is Thursday, can't you feel it?