Letters to Sports: Gambling scandal more evidence of bigger sports problem

FILE - Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, right, and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, leave after a news conference ahead of a baseball workout at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2024. The firing of Ohtani's interpreter by the Los Angeles Dodgers over allegations of illegal gambling has highlighted an issue many outside of California don't realize: Sports betting is still against the law in the nation's most populous state. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)
Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, right, and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, exit after a news conference. (Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

While the alleged theft of Shohei Ohtani's funds by his assistant is deplorable if true, it should not come as any great surprise that a scandal involving illegal betting and the MLB has emerged. Given the all-too-cozy relationship between MLB and enterprises such as Draft Kings, and the inescapable proliferation of odds posting and online betting advertisement, not to mention the approval of the Oakland Athletics move to Las Vegas, one can infer that MLB has not grown any wiser since the 1919 World Series and the Pete Rose banishment fiasco.

Bill Waxman

Simi Valley


It must be nice to have so much money that you don't notice that $4.5 million is missing.

Jay James

Pico Rivera


Let's see Julio Urías, Trevor Bauer and now maybe Ohtani. Perhaps the Dodgers should think about changing whatever vetting system they’re using or not using.

Fred Wallin

Westlake Village


So we are to believe that Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter — not his agent, attorney or anyone with any fiduciary access — was able to siphon close to $5 million for alleged gambling debts without the slugger's knowledge? Somewhere Pete Rose must be smiling.

Greg Nersesyan

North Hollywood


Safe to bet that it will come down to how much risk — and potential embarrassment — the leagues are willing to incur in exchange for the sponsorship windfall that comes with embracing ‘legalized’ gambling. The lines are blurred because sports wagering is easier and more pervasive than ever and the money speaks loudest of all.

Steve Ross


Long Beach State fans deserve better

I don’t know how this has become a story. If Long Beach State lost any of its last three games (as it had the previous five) everyone would be unanimous on the coaching change.

I’ve sat through 16 years of Dan Monson’s coaching in which he got to the Dance exactly once. In most seasons he either got outcoached, outrecruited, or put the team in outmatched situations to get appearance money. No better was the new athletic director playing with the kids' emotions with the in-tournament firing to “spark” the team. Long Beach State fans deserved better on all fronts. The “Seinfeld” story line was enough to get this show canceled, as it was by Arizona.

Bob Goldstone

Corona Del Mar


Long Beach State coach Dan Monson became "Done" Monson but was an exemplary role model to the end by persevering through his adversity and doing it in a very classy manner.

Mark Sherwin

Los Angeles

What gives?

The Angels lose two-time MVP Shohei Ohtani and replace him with … nothing. Even the normally calm Mike Trout is asking for help. Is owner Arte Moreno trying to kill off the fan base and move the team a la Georgia Frontiere with the Rams? What's your plan Arte?

Mike Gamboa

Buena Park

He's a defensive coach now

As Lincoln Riley commences with spring practice at USC, he pats himself on the back in how engaged he has been with the defense. Last that I looked, he’s the head coach, the CEO, not the offense-only half coach. Did he just discover he oversees the defense too? Did he not read the fine print in the job description from HR? Expectations couldn’t be higher this year.

Jeff Black

Los Angeles

Don't bench Hachimura

Two successive games, coach Darvin Ham benches Rui Hachimura in the fourth quarter and they lose both games. Is this good coaching or someone who has no clue?

G.T. Oka


Think again

When Dylan Hernández refers to Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman as the most anticipated lineup in Dodger history, I assume he means in L.A. The Brooklyn lineup of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Roy Campanella, all Hall of Famers, takes a back seat to no one.

Bert Bergen

La Cañada


After Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s complete disaster on the mound in his major league debut, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “You know he’ll bounce back from this."

Didn’t the captain of the Titanic say something similar to that after the ship hit the iceberg?

Jack Wolf



Per Jack Harris, to the contrary, Shohei Ohtani is not yet a Dodgers star.

David Marshall

Santa Monica

College free agency?

Ben Bolch’s column on the future of UCLA basketball, “Everybody’s a free agent,” should be wrapped around a blazing stake and driven through the heart of any lingering fantasy about college sports.

I’ve been a Bruins fan for 70 years and sat midcourt for every game at Pauley Pavilion as an undergrad in 1966-70. It’s not worth caring anymore. John Wooden’s statue should be recast with the program unrolled and covering his eyes in shame at what his legacy has become.

Bob Altizer


Get with the times

It is estimated that slightly more than $2.7 billion is expected to be wagered in legal American sportsbooks for the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments.

Once again, legal California sports will see none of this because the nation's most populous state is stuck in the 16th century regarding this subject. I know a large part of the reason is because of the complex agreement the state struck with Indian casinos, but the time has long since come and gone for the world's fifth-largest economy to work something out so residents don't have to drive to Nevada or gamble at illegal or offshore sportsbooks.

Erik Schuman

Fountain Valley

What a bargain

I couldn’t agree more with coach Cori Close and her comments in Bill Plaschke’s column. I’ve been a women’s basketball season-ticket holder for over 10 years. It’s the best bargain in town. Plus, as Coach Close said … you get connected to the women’s basketball team because they stay for four years. The chemistry is better and you know the players.

Steve Shaevel

Woodland Hills

Climate control

I cannot help but feel sorry for the letter writer who can only view something as welcome as the Dodgers’ season opener in South Korea through the lens of climate activism. I’d like to paraphrase Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own,” “There’s no crying over carbon footprints in baseball!”

Peter Maradudin



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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.