MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hopes for "short" Shohei Ohtani gambling investigation

Major League Baseball is investigating the gambling controversy that emerged out of nowhere last week. The man who runs the sport hopes it won't take long to get to the truth.

How long?

"I hope short, but I just don’t know," Commissioner Rob Manfred told Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on MLB Network, via the Associated Press.

Regardless, Manfred wants it to be done properly.

“Given the way the story unfolded, it’s important in terms of assuring our fans about the integrity of the game that we verify the things that Mr. Ohtani has said, and it’s really that simple," Manfred said. "We never have the kind of authority that law enforcement people have, but we manage to get these investigations done and find the facts and I’m sure we will on this one."

Investigations conducted by sports leagues are always subject to extraneous forces that could skew the perception of the truth. Potential inclination to go too easy or to go too hard on the subject of the probe can always be a factor, unless the investigation is conducted by a truly independent party. For example, will the MLB investigators accept Ohtani's version, or will they ask tough questions aimed at probing potential weaknesses in his story?

In Ohtani's case, it's still not clear whether his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, stole from Ohtani or whether Ohtani agreed to pay of Mizuhara's gambling debts or whether Ohtani backed the bets that Mizuhara made on Ohtani's behalf.

Whatever the truth, the Ohtani case highlights the possibility that players in other sports (specifically football) could be bankrolling friends or family members who bet on behalf of the players. It would be virtually impossible for the governing bodies to catch them in the act, and it would give those who do the betting at the behest of the player considerable power.

If/when they ever realize they possess it — and if/when they ever choose to use it.

Especially if an NFL player is using a family member or friend as the conduit for betting on NFL football.