Braves’ rival embroiled in controversy

MLB: FEB 03 DodgerFest 2024

Opening Day for the Braves is next week in Philadelphia, which is where Atlanta’s season has ended the past two years at the hands of their division rivals.

However, that’s not what everyone in Braves Country is talking about. The biggest storylines don’t involve Spencer Strider‘s quest for dominance, Ronald Acuna Jr. defending his MVP or the team’s sky-high expectations. Everyone in the MLB world is talking about Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers.

The face of baseball and arguably the sport’s biggest brand is embroiled in controversy. If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s probably a terrible summary of what’s transpired.

– Ohtani’s representative goes on record with ESPN stating that Ohtani transferred $4.5MM himself to a bookmaker on behalf of his interpretator, Ippei Mizuhara, who was fired earlier in the week.

– Spokesperson for Ohtani delivers Ippei to ESPN for statement. Ippei says Ohtani never bet and paid off his debt.

– The spokesperson for Ohtani then says that Ippei is lying after he gives his 90-minute statement to ESPN.

– Ohtani’s lawyers claim “massive theft” by Ippei.

– Ippei then says Ohtani had zero knowledge of his debt or his gambling habit in general.

Here is a more detailed account from ESPN of what’s transpired

As the Braves geared up for another run at a World Series earlier in the offseason, many believed the Phillies to be their biggest obstacle to climb to the top of the mountain at the beginning of the offseason.

Then, their west coast rival spent a small country’s GDP on Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, vaulting the Dodgers to the top of the National League. However, the Japanese superstar’s tenure is off to a rocky start, to say the least.

It’s a complete mess of a situation and one that Rob Manfred certainly wants to be cleaned up quickly, preferably with Ohtani incurring no punishment because he’s not involved to any degree. That may not be the case, though.

At worst, Ohtani could be suspended, and the Dodgers would lose their best player for an extended period of time, maybe forever. At best, Ohtani would be cleared of any wrongdoing, and the team would still be ensnared in this drama, acting as a distraction for the upcoming season.

Obviously, we all want Atlanta to win another World Series, and Los Angeles is a massive obstacle to do so now. However, with that being said, we should all want Ohtani in the game of baseball. It’s better that way. Still, it’s impossible not to speculate about the future of the Braves’ rival.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
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