The Dodgers Ain’t Dodgin’

The 2024 Major League Baseball season began on March 19th with the Los Angeles Dodgers taking on their division rival San Diego Padres not in California, but at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. It’s not the last time MLB will be playing outside of the US and Canada this season, as they will have games in Mexico City, London, and the Dominican Republic. 

So other than starting the season in South Korea, everything else has been rather typical for MLB, right? Wrong. It’s been a disaster. A charisma black hole. A nightmare. Especially for the golden team Los Angeles Dodgers, and their golden boy, Shohei Ohtani. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the richest teams in all of baseball, and this past offseason they weren’t afraid to flex their muscle. They did this by acquiring former Tampa Bay Ray pitcher Tyler Glasnow and extending him for four years and $136.5 million. In addition to Glasnow, they signed Japanese phenom Yoshinobo Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million deal. And the coda to the offseason came when the ball club signed superstar Shohei Ohtani to a record breaking 10-year $700 million deal.

On March 19th, the Dodgers flew into Seoul, South Korea to take on the Padres for MLB’s opening day on March 20th. But the biggest thing that happened wasn’t the fact that Major League Baseball was about to have their first game, or that they were going to play at all. The biggest thing that happened was an interview that Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s translator, had with ESPN. 

The interview conducted with Ohtani’s translator was not about baseball, but about mysterious wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account to the account of an illegal bookmaker, Mathew Bowyer, in California. 

According to Mizuhara’s interview with ESPN on Tuesday, these wire transfers took place as Ohtani paid off Ippei’s gambling debts, debts worth $4.5 million. Mizuhara claims that Shohei paid off these debts under the agreement that Mizuhara would never gamble again. It’s important to note that he explicitly stated that he never bet on baseball, and that Shohei never bet on anything. It’s also important to note that Ohtani’s spokesman said that Mizuhara was telling the truth. 

The next day, March 20th, the Dodgers took on the Padres, beating them 5-2. After the game, Ohtani’s spokesman tells reporters that Mizuhara’s account of the wire transfer was a hoax, completely contradicting what he had said just one day before. Shortly after this announcement, Ohtani’s legal team at Berk Bettler LLP released a statement saying that Ohtani has been a victim of massive theft, and that the authorities will begin an investigation. Shortly after that, Ippei Mizuhara was fired. 

Today, the Dodgers played their second game, once again taking on the Padres in South Korea. It was a special game as Yoshinobo Yamamoto made his major league debut, his first game after signing a $325 million dollar contract. His debut lasted all of one inning, where he gave up 4 hits, 5 earned runs, one walk, and two strikeouts. The Dodgers could not recuperate after an appalling first inning performance by Yamamoto, and would go on to lose the game 15-11. At the end of the game, Shohei Ohtani declined to speak to any reporters. 

It goes without saying, but Major League Baseball is having an interesting start to their season, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are on their hands and knees praying. Coming into the season the Dodgers looked like the ones behind the spear, but right now, they look like they’re on the receiving end of it. Their superstar is in a big scandal, and their phenom isn’t looking too phenomenal. What happened? They’re the Dodgers. They’re supposed to be dodging the bad thing. I guess what’s happening right now can be put simply: The Dodgers ain’t dodgin’.