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On Shohei-Gate – That Was Fast



© Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

So much for Shohei-Gate ruining the Dodgers.

Not only is Japanese megastar Shohei Ohtani on a heater — 13-for-30, three home runs, four doubles and a triple in his last seven games — but now the federal government is telling us that he’s more innocent than a kindergartner at a G-rated movie.

(I would have gone with more innocent than an O.J. Simpson ‘not guilty’ verdict, but it didn’t seem like the right time or place.)

I’m still having trouble swallowing all this. If the rapid-fire federal investigation — done and dusted in a fortnight? really? — is to be believed, Ippei Mizahura swiped $16 million from Shohei in moves that make the ‘Talented Mr. Ripley’ look like Ripley was playing grade-school checkers. 

Fake phone calls to banks. Deceiving Shohei’s financial guys. A steady stream of texts to the Orange County bookie saying “you know I’m good for it.” Either Ippei needs to write the script for ‘Oceans 17’, or Shohei needs to take a hard look in the mirror and check his Wells Fargo checking account every few months.

He also might want to hire a new financial team. If the federal investigation is correct, Ippei told Ohtani’s money guys “that Ohtani denied them access to the account.” And the money guys said: OK, if Ippei says so?!? 

Siri, show me the worst financial consultants money can buy.

And remind me *not* to bank with the financial institution that gets a phone call from Ippei doing a fake Shohei accent, and then GREEN LIGHTS the transfer of a half a mil.

And Ippei — bro. According to the reports, he placed 25 bets *a day*. Somewhere, Pete Rose gives a golf clap — and texts him an invite to the dog track.

The whole thing is nuts. And, if the feds are to be believed, clear of any Shohei wrongdoing. They called him a victim. I call him the most naive $700 million man I’ve ever seen. Did the Dodgers defer Shohei’s ability to sniff out a scam, too? 

When Shohei-Gate broke in Korea last month, I clinged to an immature, irrational hope that this thing had legs and tentacles and would spin for weeks and months and Shohei Ohtani, the world’s best baseball player, would stop watching video and stop game prep and mop up flop sweat as the feds closed in on his dark gambling world, a world he funneled through his guy, Ippei.

It only took the feds two weeks to say: Nope. Nothing to see here. Ippei is a sociopath. Shohei is a newborn fawn. And the Dodgers are three games clear in the NL West and the highest-scoring team in baseball.

Sheesh. That was fast. And still fishy.

I suppose the only reach I can make now is that Shohei Ohtani’s complete and utter lack of financial awareness and/or ability to read the room will somehow translate into him making critical mental mistakes on the base paths at key moments.

It’s all I have at this point. The feds have spoken. Ippei has been thrown on the funeral pyre. And Shohei is due up — between Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Ack.