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Renck & File: I would not bet my life on Shohei Ohtani’s story. Regardless, he needs to be smarter

This is about X, lies and (scrubbed) videotape. This is about Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and a subject that stirs emotions — gambling and crime.

News surfaced on Twitter earlier this week that baseball’s biggest star was the victim of massive fraud, betrayed by his longtime interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

In a 90-minute original interview with ESPN, Mizuhura asserted that Ohtani was the greatest best friend of all time, sending wire transfers from his account to cover $4.5 million in debts owed to a Southern California bookmaking operation that remains under federal investigation.

Before the story was published, the same spokesman who said Ohtani transferred the funds for Mizuhura, backpedaled, disputing the interpreter’s account. Not long after Ohtani’s lawyers said he was the “victim of a massive theft” and Mizhura said he was ready to accept all “consequences,” which he either deserves or is the biggest “Fall Guy” since Lee Majors.

Major League Baseball announced Friday it has launched an investigation into the matter.

The more I researched Ohtani, I believe it is plausible he allowed Mizuhura unfettered access to his funds since he ran his errands, if not his schedule. According to The Los Angeles Times, Ohtani lived in the dorms for his Japanese baseball team before coming to the United States and never touched money in his bank account.

This type of naiveté from a 29-year-old is stunning. It is, however, possible. This version of the story also insulates Ohtani. If it is proven he transferred the money to a bookie or bet on baseball, he would wade knee-deep into criminal and professional quicksand.

For the record, gambling does not outrage me. It’s legal in nearly 40 states. I don’t bet, but have enjoyed sponsorships with sportsbooks and appreciate the insight lines and props provide on games.

But, Ohtani has to be better. If we are to believe his friend’s actions blindsided him — Mizuhura is the subject of a criminal investigation by the IRS — he must choose better friends. Or hire a financial advisor to oversee his money, not an interpreter.

Ohtani needs to discipline himself before others do it for him.

Charlie Blackmon still loves to hit: The Rockies veteran described the batter-pitcher confrontation to me thusly: “Everything you do is to feel good for those 55 seconds or however long the at-bat takes. It is really cool to put yourself into a situation where you are competing at a high level and all of your training and mental energy is focused on such a short period of time.”

Cackling at Cal: John Calipari whining about Kentucky’s freshman having to play against older players is hilarious. Oakland’s 24-year-old Jack Gohlke dropped 10 3s on the Wildcats. He had one Division I offer. Under Calipari, Kentucky has become known more for its brand than winning tournament games. …

Off Holliday: I would love for the Orioles’ Jackson Holliday to win American League Rookie of the Year honors. But that’s going to the Rangers’ Wyatt Langford. Your fantasy team can thank me later. …

MPJ’s run: Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is becoming the player we thought he was. Since the All-Star break, he is averaging nearly 21 points a game, and knows more about clutch than Mr. Goodwrench. …

Mail Time

So, how exactly did the Broncos “practice incompletions” under then-offensive coordinator and current CU Buffs OC Pat Shurmur?

— Chuck, CU graduate

Perhaps jaded by his time as the Giants head coach, Shurmur adopted a condescending attitude towards the Broncos media. We were charting the passes by Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater because they were in a quarterback competition. Shurmur let us know that some tosses were intentionally grounded to stop the clock so they were not “the crappy throws” they appeared to be. It was how he said it more than what he said that made it unintentionally funny. Shurmur has landed in a good spot at CU and his presser reflected that Wednesday. It also helps to have Shedeur Sanders at quarterback.

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