Shohei Ohtani and the sad precedent of Pete Rose, the legend who gambled and was forgotten by MLB

Shohei Ohtani and the sad precedent of Pete Rose, the legend who gambled and was forgotten by MLB

The Japanese star is under investigation

Shohei Ohtani is under investigation by Major League Baseball.


Shohei Ohtani is under investigation by Major League Baseball.LAPRESSE

Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani is in the middle of a scandal when his name came up in an investigation into an alleged illegal gambling house in the name of Matthew Bowyer in Orange County, Florida.

NBC News indicated that Bowyer, 48, was gambling with Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, who apparently stole $4.5 million in wire transfers from the player in order to cover gambling debts.


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Here was the interaction between Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and his translator MizuharaTikTok

Early reports say Bowyer dealt directly with Mizuhara, who placed several bets on international football and other sports games, but not baseball, since 2021, ESPN reported.

Initially, a spokesman for Ohtani said that the star himself “had transferred the funds from his account,” to an associate of Bowyer’s, to cover Mizuhara’s debt.

“Obviously, Ohtani wasn’t happy about it and said he would help me to make sure I never did this again,” Mizuhara said. “He decided to pay for me.”


Several sources added that Ohtani never participated in the matter, but a few hours later the player’s own spokesman remained silent, noting that the player’s lawyers were releasing a statement on the matter.

“In responding to recent media enquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft and we are turning the matter over to the authorities,” Berk Brettler LLP said, without releasing the specific name of the person who committed the crime.

Several experts pointed out that it is a strange case, and do not fully believe the words of Ohtani’s lawyers. That’s because the story has changed when it was first pointed out that the player paid Mizuhara’s debts, and later it was pointed out that he was the victim of “a massive theft”.

MLB announced a full investigation into the case

On Friday, Major League Baseball said it will open an investigation into the case to determine whether or not the two-time American League MVP was involved in gambling.


“MLB has been gathering information since we learned of the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara from the media,” the MLB statement said. “Our Department of Investigations (DOI) began its formal process of investigating the matter.”

MLB is expected to conduct interviews with all parties, although officials will have no way to compel Mizuhara to cooperate since he no longer works for baseball.

Ohtani also has the right to refuse to cooperate as a member of the MLB Players Association and could invoke his right, under an interpretation of arbitration precedent, to refuse to cooperate because of an ongoing criminal investigation.

MLB has traditionally argued that it can only invoke such an exception if the player is a target, which Ohtani is not believed to be.

The Pete Rose precedent

It is known that MLB can apply various gambling penalties, depending on the severity of the matter, and penalties can range from a financial fine to a lifetime suspension.

In Article 21 of Major League Baseball’s regulations, it states that if a person involved in the Majors, player, coach or employee, places bets in an illegal system, as is the case with Mizuhara, the measure will be a financial penalty without suspension.

In addition, MLB players and employees can bet on other sports, but not on illegal bookmakers or websites outside the United States.

Other sanctions range from a year-long suspension if a bet is found to have been placed on MLB teams, to a lifetime suspension if the bet involves the team to which the player belongs.

The sad case of Pete Rose

In February 1989, then MLB commissioner Bartlett Giamatti opened an investigation into Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose after reports surfaced linking the former player to betting on MLB teams, including his team’s games, and hired attorney John M. Dowd to head the investigation.

Dowd filed his report that Rose was involved in gambling between 1985 and 1987, in which there were 52 games involving the Reds in his manager’s bets, in which he invested a minimum of $10,000 per game.

On August 24, 1989, Rose, the 1975 and 1976 Reds champion who holds the record for most hits in the Major Leagues with 4,256, was suspended for life from all baseball, which even excluded him from being a Hall of Famer.


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