Howard Weighs in on the Scandal Surrounding Los Angeles Dodgers Superstar Shohei Ohtani

“It doesn’t look good for baseball,” Howard says

March 25, 2024

Baseball fans were thrown a curveball last week after news broke linking Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani to an illegal sports gambling operation. The complicated story centered around the Japanese pitcher and batter’s longtime friend and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, who allegedly racked up a $4.5 million gambling debt and stands accused of stealing the money from Shohei to pay back his bookie. The investigation is still ongoing, and new twists and turns are being reported every day, but to Howard’s mind one thing was certain: “Either way, it doesn’t look good for baseball,” he said.

Howard invited baseball-loving Stern Show staffers Gary Dell’Abate, Jon Hein, and Jason Kaplan to share their thoughts on the developing scandal. “It’s really interesting because Ohtani is the golden boy of major league baseball … [but] it’s hard to believe that you don’t notice $4.5 million gone missing,” Hein began.

Ippei currently stands accused of betting on N.B.A. games, N.F.L. games, and international soccer, but Hein said the stakes would change dramatically if it comes to light he gambled on baseball—especially if it turns out Ohtani is more involved than he has originally let on. “If you gamble on baseball, that’s it,” Hein added, citing embattled Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose, whose own gambling problems kept him out of the Hall of Fame.

Photo: Getty Images

The others were split on whether Ohtani would get banned from the sport if it somehow turned out he was gambling on baseball.

“They have to [ban him],” Gary said, adding “Baseball’s line is they have to protect the integrity of the game.”

“Ohtani is baseball’s golden goose,” Jason countered. “They will do everything to protect him, and his [interpreter] will end up in a Siberian prison probably.”

That’s when baseball enthusiast and noted Reds fan JD Harmeyer chimed in to share his thoughts on Ohtani. “If he bet on baseball, they better throw his ass out,” JD concluded. “Or they [can] let Pete Rose back in … and he can get into the Hall of Fame finally.”

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