As Ippei Mizuhara faces federal charges, Shohei Ohtani appears vindicated | Baseball Bar-B-Cast

Jake Mintz & Jordan Shusterman react to 37-page criminal complaint filed against Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, which outlined in detail how the latter stole over $16 million from the Dodgers star in order to cover his gambling debts. Mintz & Shusterman explain how the years of text messages between the two appear to completely vindicate Ohtani of wrongdoing and align with his public statements that he was the victim. Hear the full conversation on "Baseball Bar-B-Cast," subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video Transcript

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: As noted above, the investigative team and I have spoken with and have reviewed an extraction of the Mizuhara phone, which contained voluminous messages between Victim A and Mizuhara in Japanese. An HSI Special Agent who is fluent and native speaker of the Japanese language reviewed approximately 9,700 pages of text messages between Victim A and Mizuhara between 2020 and 2024.

JAKE MINTZ: If you want to read 37 pages of the report, think about the guy who read 9,700 pages of text messages.

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: Yeah, 9,000 pages, like, it's just, OK, and there's no evidence of Shohei having any idea about any of this. And so listen, it's all there. It's horribly sad. If you still want to say that he's clearly just a fall guy, he's just going to go take 30 years from him-- for him in jail, I don't know what to tell you.

My main takeaway here is that this-- we laid out the scenarios when we talked about this originally a few weeks ago. And this one, option B as we were calling it at the time, where it is just as bad as it could possibly be from Ippei's perspective is what it has turned out to be, if not even worse. And that's sad. It's really sad.

And I obviously, maybe we will still get some more details in the future. But as far as I'm concerned, this report, and the details, and the fact that he's pleading guilty is-- kind of puts a capper on this for me.

JAKE MINTZ: Puts a capper on this for me from what is Ohtani's culpability. I mean, special agents reviewed every text message between Ohtani and Ippei over the course of four years and found zero evidence of communication about gambling between the two of them is incredibly important. Because it is not like Ippei was using discretion to talk about gambling.

If he was comfortable texting the bookie, lol, lost $10,000 on UCLA soccer, feels like he would have just texted Ohtani about bets as well. And so I'm just saying for me, we have a trove of evidence that Ippei was involved. And we have absolutely zero indication that Ohtani knew anything about it.

And until if maybe we are giving evidence that proves that otherwise, I'm going to sit here and I am going to believe Ohtani and his side of the story because what we have learned is so overwhelmingly indicating that is the case.

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: And yeah, it's still-- like, if you want to say there's still a level of negligence from his side, from his agent's side, like I hear all that. That's fine. But that's different than-- and it's still messy.

It's still the bigger, zooming all the way out, it is still a reminder that again, gambling issues like this are-- even if they're tangentially associated, unfortunately, indirectly, these are still scary things that we're going to be confronting in sports moving forward, for sure. I just think that this is a singularly unique horrible case of betrayal, and lying, and that's what the story is. So I think we have to move forward from there.

JAKE MINTZ: I agree. Read it. Go read it. It's worth your time.

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: If you've been interested in this story, you will learn a lot. It's tough to read at times, for sure. But I think, to get this amount of detail feels good in some way, I guess.