Shohei Ohtani can count on the support of Dodgers fans

(Los Angeles) Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers overwhelmingly supported their new Japanese star Shohei Ohtani for his first home game, who denies any involvement in a sports betting scandal linked to his ex-interpreter.

Thursday, the Dodgers won their first home game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals (7-1), and celebrated the arrival of the Japanese megastar.

“Ohtani! We’ve been waiting for him since day one, since he signed. We are ready to see it take off, to win the championship, to return to victory in LA,” enthused Ronald Nazario to AFP, near the Dodgers stadium in east Los Angeles, where sold out Thursday in mass caps and jerseys of N.17, near a fresco with his image.


On Thursday, the Dodgers celebrated the arrival of Japanese megastar, Shohei Ohtani.

“He’s a professional, he’s ready. All the stuff we hear in the media is bad vibes, but he’s going to be great, he’s here to play baseball,” said Oscar Sanchez, another supporter.

“I am very grateful for the welcome from Dodgers fans. I had obviously played in this stadium before for another team, I was quite intimidated,” said Ohtani after the match, their third of the season after two opening matches in South Korea.

Ohtani, 29 and a former member of the Los Angeles Angels, was signed in late 2023 by the Dodgers with a record contract of $700 million over ten years.

“Never bet”

The fairy tale took an unexpected turn with revelations last week of a federal investigation into an illegal sports betting scandal that involves the player and those around him. Ippei Mizuhara, a former performer and close friend of Ohtani, is suspected of having stolen money from him for allegedly illegal bets with a bookmaker.

Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers and major league baseball opened an investigation.

For his first public comment since the start of the affair, Ohtani denied earlier this week having ever bet on sports, an act still illegal in certain American states including California.

“I have never bet on baseball or any other sport, and I have never asked anyone to do it for me, I have never contacted a lender to bet on sports,” he said. said.

“Ippei stole my money from my bank account and lied to me,” he claimed, saying he was “shocked”.

The media was not allowed to ask Ohtani any questions at Monday’s news conference, leaving several questions unanswered, including how Mizuhara was able to gain access to his friend’s account to transfer large sums of money, in total several million dollars.

The Dodgers have decided to stand together behind their new star: “I support him and our organization,” assured manager Dave Roberts.

“We got answers to our questions about what he knew and didn’t know,” he said. “I can’t wait to move on, let’s let the authorities handle this thing while we focus on baseball. »


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