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MLB teams likely to make 1 big change after Ippei Mizuhara scandal

Ippei Mizuhara at a press conference

Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ippei Mizuhara, the translator for Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, during an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball teams are likely to make one big change in the wake of the gambling scandal that ensnared Ippei Mizuhara.

In an appearance on the “Foul Territory” podcast, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggested that teams will be much more careful going forward in vetting figures like interpreters for players. Rosenthal notes that there were a number of holes in Mizuhara’s biography that should have been caught when the Los Angeles Angels hired Mizuhara to translate for Shohei Ohtani.

“I am certain, and have talked to some people in the game, about what they will do going forward. Yes, background checks. Yes, I would imagine the next time an interpreter is presented to a team, they’re going to have more questions than maybe the Angels did about Ippei,” Rosenthal said. “I would expect there to be an effect here, and an impact on the way teams conduct themselves in the future. Maybe even guidelines that MLB puts in place for interpreters in the future, how they are given their roles and all of those kinds of things.”

Rosenthal is correct about inconsistencies in Mizuhara’s biography. Those would have been caught with a more thorough background check, but the Angels, who hired Mizuhara to work with Ohtani, likely did not feel that was necessary. Expect that to change going forward.

Mizuhara is facing charges of bank fraud after allegedly stealing upwards of $16 million from Ohtani in order to pay off gambling debts.


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