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  • Ed Botti

In Between the Lines

By Ed Botti

March 24, 2024

***


Back in December 2023, most (not me) were over the top jealous of the Dodgers for signing two Japanese stars. One who was already established in MLB and the other who never touched a Major League ball, never faced a MLB hitter, and never pitched every 5th day. I am not going to dredge up my feelings on this again today. But what I will say on the matter is the Dodgers could not have had a worse start to their new “dynasty”, and I for one (and judging by fan feedback—I am not alone) could not be more amused by it.


The next MLB “Ace” or “Stud”, as way to many supposedly expert MLB analysts who yearned for his services “at any cost” despite never actually seeing him play, had a terrible spring facing MLB hitters, and looked like a 5’9’’ under whelming starter in his first start of the MLB season.


I will hold off my evaluation of Yamamoto, the $325 million dollar man, until I see more of him. But, I did get up early to watch him pitch in the S. Korea MLB game this week -- 1 inning, 5 runs. I am not even going to get into the ridiculousness of starting an MLB season in S Korea.


So what went wrong in La La Land this week?”

Photo by Cory Woodroof


Yamamoto became the first Dodgers starter since 1901 to allow five runs in his Major League debut in a performance that lasted one or fewer innings. It's also the shortest outing by a Dodgers starter making his MLB debut since Ralph Mauriello in 1958.


Mr. Ohtani? Well he is now embroiled in a huge gambling scandal that has already seen two different versions of the story in one day, and federal agencies getting involved.


Now, both MLB and the FBI are launching separate investigations.


That must have been a fun flight back to the states for the “Bums” as some Yankee fans still call them.


We do not need to rehash the risk vs reward calculation of major sports enterprises getting into business with the Gambling Industry. Eddie Cicotte took care of that for us back in 1919.


MLB, NCAA, NFL, NBA, and NHL (to name a few) all did their studies and made their rhetorical beds.


All of these commissioners know they are walking a tightrope, and chose the money over the integrity of their leagues.


The info we are being given tells us that allegedly Ohtani’s interpreter got into serious sports gambling debt, and Ohtani (or someone else) wired $4.5MM to an illegal bookie from Ohtani’s account to settle the debt.


In my day job, I am a partner at a Forensic Accounting firm. So this story is right up my alley. Based on the information that is starting to leak out, there will be an electronic trail of data and evidence that will not be too difficult to acquire and put together. MLB may not be adept at such an investigation, but the FBI is a master at it.


We will have to wait and see what that tells us. I am not going to guess or speculate. In my business we use facts, and facts only. We do not get paid for guessing.


What I am going to do is look into this as I would if this was one of my firm’s projects, and I would love for that to be the case. Not for the money, but because we do not fold in the face of pressure to look the other way.


We follow the money and report where it went and why. Period.


First and foremost I would like to ask Mr. Ohtani why his interpreter, Ippei Masuhara, was being compensated by Ohtani at least double what all the other interpreters make, and in some cases an estimated 230% more than his colleagues, regardless of whether they are Latin, Korean, or Japanese.


What is Mr. Masuhara doing for you that you feel compelled to over pay him by as much as 230%?


Remember folks, up until 2023, Ohtani was not making a massive salary. In fact, many “experts” thought he was under paid. So, why the premium for Masuhara?


According to ESPN, Mizuhara stated he has been paid between $300,000 and $500,000 annually, while the average interpreter is paid south of $100,000 according to ZIP Recruiter.


My next question would be directed at the alleged illegal bookie (whose name I will omit until we know more). I would like to know why the bookie allowed for someone making $300,000 to $500,000 to be given a credit line that allowed him to build a debt of $4.5mm?


I know plenty of folks over the years that got into betting trouble through the neighborhood bookie. None of the bookies would ever agree to such a massive ratio of bets to income. It doesn’t happen that way, regardless of who you work for.


Why? Because their bosses would never allow it, and they would be held accountable.


This goes way back to the times of Arthur Rothstein to Al Capone to Shondor Birns and up through today.


That does not add up. Bookies do not work that way, which tells me there has to be more to this story.


What that is, I am not going to guess. I will just continue to follow the money.


My next level of inquiry would be to see and inspect the wiring transaction and speak to the bank that sent the money and the bank that received the money.


When was it done? Who signed off on it? Were there other wire transactions from that account in the last 60 months? Where did the wiring confirmation and verification go to?


There are some stories that involve many deep pockets and powerful people that seem to just go away.


For example, we never learned the truth about why Michael Jordan left the NBA to play minor league baseball for 2 years, and why his father was murdered.


Sports gambling is illegal in California, even though 38 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of it. The IRS on Thursday confirmed that Mizuhara and the alleged illegal bookie, are under criminal investigation through the agency's Los Angeles Field Office.


Ohtani, it is reported, is treated differently than the other MLB players. He does not have the same media obligations, training schedule, and overall team rules. The league even made a rule to allow him to pitch and DH in the same game.


In other words, he has his own rules, and isn’t expected to follow the same rules as everyone else.


Does this play into this situation? Does he not see himself subject to the same rules as his teammates and everyone else? Hopefully we will learn quite a bit about him and his finances.


But it does appear that he is not expected to follow the same rules as everyone else.

One thing we do know is he generates significant revenue for his team and the league.


As we say in my business, always follow the money.


Reading between the lines, I would not be surprised one Iota if Masuhara takes the fall, disappears and is never to be seen again.


Ohtani? He just may get a Hollywood production of a slap on the wrist.


You have to wonder what A-Rod, Wander Franco, or Trevor Bauer think? None of them were given the same benefit of the doubt, why Ohtani?


Hopefully, we will get the full story soon.

*** 


Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK


Jordan Montgomery is still an unsigned free agent. Gerrit Cole is out at least 10-12 weeks.


Many are wondering why Monty has not been signed yet, especially since Blake Snell and Scott Boros took pennies on the dollars to sign with the Giants.


What is stopping the Yankees, who supposedly are all in in 2024, from adding a MLB caliber pitcher when they just lost their ace for a foreseeable future?


According to Rick Cerrone, editor-in-chief of Baseball Digest, the Yankees are not Monty’s first choice.


I see 2024 as a critical year for the Yankee organization. The have held the status quo with regard to the management of the team for almost a decade now, despite the World Series drought. How much longer can they hold on to their power if the drought continues?


What exactly is stopping them from signing Monty or even Snell (before he signed with San Francisco)?


Reading between the lines, I believe that if they do get to an agreement with Monty, it is because they already know Cole’s elbow injury is worse than we are being told.

***

Message to Marcus Stroman, refusing the opening day assignment and saying “what the fans think is the least of my concerns” when asked about it, is the wrong way to start your Yankee career. 


Although it may be OK to think that to yourself, it’s a really stupid thing to say out loud.


Marcus, the fight you will never win is a fight with NY Fans.


Marcus’ mouth is legendary, and the main reason why I was against his signing. He didn’t even wait until opening day to shoot it off and anger the people that underwrite his salary.


He isn’t done folks, mark my words, Marcus will be unable to control himself either through his social media comments or simply by way of his big mouth.


This is nothing new, the Yanks should have known that.


They wanted him, so buyer beware.


He’s now your Number 2 starter.

***

One last thing, if you have read my articles over the last 5 seasons, you know that I like to bring up other sports, and in March I am a big March Madness fan. Well this year is making it hard for me. I have no idea who the starting 5 are on most teams, because players keep switching teams. The whole transfer portal and NIL thing has ruined it, IMO.


There was a time not too long ago where I could tell you the starting 5 of Duke, Villanova, Michigan, Auburn, Cincinnati, UNC and even Gonzaga. Not anymore, I watch these games and I have no idea who most of them are.


Follow the money!!

16 bình luận


jnichols351
jnichols351
25 thg 3

The other aspect of the Ohtani matter is that he lied, at least once, as to background. Generally speaking someone who has nothing to hide doesn’t hide, so his initial reaction to lie raises a concern. There is more to the story, a lot more, and my thought is that Ohtani is more involved than anyone wants him to be, question is whether or not MLB wants to know the story. Pete Rose was unavailable for comment.


Gambling will ruin sports, much like the transfer portal and NIL has begun to ruin college sports. Look at football, these kids transfer more often than NFL players get traded. I don’t like it.


Stroman’s comments shouldn’t be a surprise, this is who…

Thích

lenjack
24 thg 3

Excellent analysis of the Ohtani situation. Either he has no clue how things, or he is dumb, or he's a crook, as is his interpreter.

Thích
jeff
24 thg 3
Phản hồi lại

I think it may be a cultural thing with both Shohei Ohtani and his interpreter. He and his interpreter don't have a clear understanding of American law and what is legal and what is not legal when it comes to gambling. Ohtani had absolutely no clue that he was breaking the law by "helping out his friend" "so he will never do this again" by paying his interpreter to pay the bookie everything his interpreter owes the bookie. However, not knowing the law is no excuse for breaking the law, and the consequences of breaking that law are warranted. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Ohtani did not know he was breaking the law when he…

Thích

jjw49
24 thg 3

Speculating about the Dodgers and Ohtani without any other information might give some solace for Yankee fans, but I find it hard to attach any significance other than bad PR for Dodgers at this point.

Thích

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
24 thg 3

A-Fraud, Franco and Bauer are treated differently than Ohtani because they are Bad People, and Ohtani, so far, has been a Good Person and great for the game. Just like the kid with Joe Jackson, I don't want the potential horrors to be true. But if it is, if Ohtani is in bed with gamblers, and the translator was the Tommy Gioiosa of this generation, Shoheiless Joe will quickly lose his luster. But for now, please say it ain't Shohei.

Thích
jeff
24 thg 3
Phản hồi lại

Further adding to the poor timing of this whole thing is that TODAY, the MLB announced that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani will be opening the Regular Season next season in Japan against the Chicago Cubs. I am hoping that Ohtani isn't still "tainted" because of this, because those games would be wildly popular in Japan with Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto playing for the Dodgers and Shōta Imanaga (nicknamed "The Throwing Philosopher") and Seiya Suzuku playing for the Cubs.

Thích

Alan B.
Alan B.
24 thg 3

Between the transfer portal and the NIL, it really has ruined major CFB & CBB. But it's only going to get worse after the Courts certified that Dartmouth's men's basketball team are now union members of the working class. I know some members of Congress are now hungry to have their own say by making laws to even the playing field. But at least for the most part, that doesn't touch the conference tourneys nor March Madness.... Let's get ready to que up One Shinning Moment!


As for Jordan Montgomery coming 'home'. This is not an Andy Pettitte situation. How Cashman treated him, on his way out and afterwards is still disgusting to me. I get it, that his …


Thích
Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
25 thg 3
Phản hồi lại

It would have to be shown that he bet on Angels games; that's the lifetime ban. Gambling on soccer (which is what I read happened) would result in a suspension, but not a Rose situation.

Thích
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