Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Dave Roberts Calls Aftermath of Ippei Mizuhara Scandal ‘Best Thing That Ever Happened’ to Shohei Ohtani

Right as the 2024 MLB season was just beginning, Shohei Ohtani faced what might have been the biggest obstacle of his career: his former interpreter and close friend, Ippei Mizuhara, was charged with bank fraud after stealing millions from Ohtani to fund his gambling addiction.

After the initial news of Mizuhara’s misdeeds spread, Ohtani was roped into MLB’s investigation into the situation. While this scandal could have easily proven to be a distraction, Ohtani is now playing some of his best baseball and has grown closer to team.

On the latest episode of the “Starkville” podcast, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t mince words about the effect the Ippei Mizuhara scandal had on Shohei Ohtani, even calling it the ‘best thing that’s ever happened’ to Ohtani.

“Once we got that resolved and he was removed, Shohei just was forced to kind of be on his own, which I think was the best thing that’s ever happened to him. I really do. There’s no longer a buffer between teammates,” Roberts added. “There’s no longer a buffer between coaches, front office. Now we got to have those conversations 1-on-1. … In scouting reports and meetings he’s obviously present. His English is fantastic. And so you can just see how everyone’s taken to him. And his play is kind of echoing that. This is the first time he’s even driven to the ballpark this year by himself. So these are things we take for granted certainly but it’s a big step for him. I do think that it’s been a great move for him.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, via the Starkville podcast

The Mizuhara situation certainly forced some big changes into Ohtani’s life. With one of his closest companions suddenly gone, Ohtani has instead been able to speak more with his teammates and coaches immediately, rather than to Mizuhara.

All in all, Ohtani continues to play better baseball seemingly each week. He is coming off a 4-for-4 performance against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, a 2-for-3 game against the Marlins on Monday, and a National League Player of the Week award. He currently leads MLB with a .370 batting average and 11 home runs on the season.

It’s certainly hard to see a situation in which Ohtani was betrayed by Mizuhara, lost millions of dollars and put in the middle of a massive gambling scandal the “best thing to ever happen to him.” But the glass-half-full reading appears to be that Ohtani was able to grow and become closer with his team during what was otherwise a nightmare situation.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

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Eva Geitheim

Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.


  1. I can not understand why Roberts is still the manager of the dodgers. They have spent billions on the season team and yet its like he does not understand how to coach the dodgers . that’s why they have only on world series ring and that was short season , to me that is not a world series . what is it going to take for the owners too understand roberts no matter who is on the team he will never make back to the world series ….

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