Bill Plaschke: Ippei Mizuhara's surrender inspires Shohei Ohtani to soar for Dodgers

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES — Ippei Mizuhara entered a courtroom in shackles.

Shohei Ohtani flew around Chavez Ravine on wings.

On the most sobering, sensational of Fridays, one man's arrest became another man's freedom, a simple ballgame serving as a striking example of brilliance unburdened.

Just down the street from Dodger Stadium, Ohtani's longtime interpreter and close colleague Mizuhara surrendered to authorities on charges of stealing more than $16 million from Ohtani to supply his gambling addiction.

Hours later, Ohtani did not give an inch to the San Diego Padres, clobbering a first-inning home run and adding two scorching doubles in an eventual 8-7, 11-inning defeat.

The two events felt related. The divergence of the two paths now feels real. Now that Mizuhara is facing 30 years in prison, Ohtani can now strictly concentrate on facing pitchers.


You think the Dodgers superstar feels relieved at this first sign of closure? You think he hasn't been affected by all the chatter that perhaps he was a knowing participant in the gambling scandal? You think he's thrilled the cynicism has been silenced?

The calmest of stars was certainly feeling something, because he attacked Friday as if unleashed.

"Shohei, he's doing it, man," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He's playing great baseball, he's got that look in his eye like he wants to be at the plate and he's just taking really good swings, hitting everything hard. Yeah, I just marvel at what he's done … just the talent that's something pretty remarkable."

And if one is to believe that look in his eye, Friday is just the beginning.


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