The commissioner hopes MLB’s investigation into Ohtani will be short

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says he hopes the gambling investigation into Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani will be short, but he’s not sure.


What you need to know

  • Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says he hopes Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani’s gambling investigation will be short, but he’s not sure
  • MLB announced its investigation Friday after the Dodgers fired Ohtani’s translator and friend Ippei Mizuhara following reports from the Los Angeles Times and ESPN about his alleged ties to an illegal bookmaker and debts of more than $1 million.
  • Ohtani said Monday that he never bet on sports or knowingly paid any gambling debts accumulated by Mizuhara
  • Manfred defended the commercial relationships MLB and its teams have with legal gambling companies

MLB announced its investigation Friday after the Dodgers fired Ohtani’s translator and friend Ippei Mizuhara following reports from the Los Angeles Times and ESPN about his alleged ties to an illegal bookmaker and debts of more than $1 million. Ohtani said Monday that he never bet on sports or knowingly paid off any gambling debts Mizuhara accumulated.

“Given the way the story unfolded, it’s important to assure our fans of the integrity of the game that we verify the things that Mr. Ohtani has said, and it’s really that simple,” Manfred said Thursday on the Network MLB.

The IRS has confirmed that Mizuhara and Mathew Bowyer, the alleged illegal bookmaker, are under criminal investigation through the agency’s Los Angeles field office.

“It’s really difficult for federal authorities to fully cooperate with us when they have their own ongoing investigation, so I think that’s where we’re going to have to go on our own,” Manfred said.

MLB has limited ability to compel cooperation.

“We never have the kind of authority that law enforcement people have, but we get to do these investigations and find the facts and I’m sure we will on this,” Manfred said.

Asked about the length of the investigation, Manfred said: “I hope short, but I just don’t know.”

Manfred defended the commercial relationships MLB and its teams have with legal gambling companies.

“Sports betting will continue in the United States whether we have a relationship with any particular company, any gambling establishment or not,” he said. “I don’t think it’s unusual to have a set of rules that apply to fans, managers and private citizens out there on the one hand, and players and people who have the ability to influence the outcome of the game on the field.”

“There are all kinds of situations in which you have a privilege, in this case the privilege of playing in Major League Baseball, and that comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of conduct, in this case gambling. that are legal for other people,” he added.

Manfred also discussed the uncertainty in revenue from regional sports networks. After Diamond Sports’ Bally Networks filed for bankruptcy last year, MLB took over local San Diego and Arizona broadcasts last season and is producing and distributing their own telecasts this year along with Colorado’s.

“Local media is about 25% of our revenue,” Manfred said. “There’s absolutely no question that that particular revenue stream is challenged right now, but we see it as a trough. There will be a little bit of a dip here, but we believe that in the long term … clubs will get back to where they’ve been historically and beyond.”

“Everyone is affected to some degree by the changes that are happening in the cable package,” he added. “Clubs that have seen revenue declines would be Seattle, Colorado, San Diego, Arizona and then small declines in Texas, Minnesota and Cleveland.”

Manfred said local media contributed to a slower free agent market that led to some big players taking shorter contracts.

“We have a market-based system,” he said, “and when you have issues like the RSN issue … that affect a significant number of teams and all teams see issues on that horizon, it’s going to affect the market for players. It should.

“I think the players understand that they bargained for a market system and that the markets will change from year to year. I think the biggest issue in terms of talking to players is making sure they understand what’s going on in terms of local media so they can appreciate the impact it has on the market.”

Manfred also said MLB is planning for Willie Mays, who turns 93 in May, to attend the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis. Louis that is played in his honor at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The 10,800-seat stadium, opened in 1910, is the oldest professional ballpark in the US and was the home of the Birmingham Black Barons from 1924-60. Mays, a native of Alabama, began his professional career with the team in 1948.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *