Three Unrelated Items Today …

Today will be a game of hopscotch around the sports world …

Ippei Mizuhara will plead guilty to “fraud charges” as a result of him transferring about $15M out of Shohei Ohani’s account(s) to a bookie to settle gambling losses incurred by Mizuhara.  I am sure that the Dodgers’ brass and the MLB execs hope this is the final chapter in this mess and that there is not another cinder block ready to drop on the scene.  And even though I am not a conspiracy theorist, this story just does not hold together in my mind.  For me to believe that Mizuhara’s action was totally on his own, I also must believe:

  1. Over about a three-year period, Ohtani never noticed the missing funds from his account(s).
  2. Ohtani’s agent never noticed that his client’s account(s) were short a sizeable amount of money.
  3. Ohtani’s financial advisors – – and his tax preparers too – – never saw any shortage(s).
  4. The bank handling Ohtani’s money on deposit was allegedly duped by Mizuhara more than a dozen times as he pretended to be Ohtani thereby gaining access to the account’s funds.

Of course, those four things may indeed have happened – – but the fact that Ohtani has not fired his agent and his financial people seems to indicate that he does not believe they were asleep at the switch there.  Moreover, I bet that the bank involved here will not use any of those duping incidents in their advertising for new accounts.

In this morning’s Washington Post, there is a report by Gus Garcia-Roberts linking the alleged bookie who was on the receiving end of Ohtani’s money – – allegedly again sent by Mizuhara alone and undetected – – and the bookie’s involvement with some Las Vegas casinos that might be just a tad “shady”.  Here is a link to that report.

Color me skeptical here…

Next up …  The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes are pulling up stakes and moving to Salt Lake City.  The Coyotes have been problematic for the NHL almost since their “birth” in 1996 when the Winnipeg Jets moved southwest.  In 2009, the NHL had to take over the franchise because it had not gained a strong foothold in the Phoenix area; the team’s owner at the time declared bankruptcy and turned the team over to the league; things were bleak.

A Canadian billionaire sought to buy the team out of bankruptcy, but the NHL blocked the sale because he was going to move the team to “southern Ontario” which was a euphemism for Hamilton, Ontario and the longstanding franchise in Toronto did not appreciate that idea even slightly.  That kept the team in Arizona and the simple fact of the matter is that Arizona is not a hotbed of hockey for simple climatological considerations.

The team has been trying to get a new arena – – primarily at public expense – – for years now and every time there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel of those negotiations, that light turns out to be a gorilla with a flashlight.  And so, the NHL has now decided to let the Coyotes be reorganized as a team in Salt Lake City, Utah and a naming process is underway.  [Aside:  Of the names reportedly under consideration, my preference would be the “Utah Yeti” due to its alliterative nature.  But no one involved with the NHL has or will ask my opinion.]

On one hand, the NHL has finally recognized after more than 25 years that the Phoenix/Tempe AZ area is not “Hockeytown USA”.  On the other hand, they have approved the movement of the team to another region in the country that does not appear to have any “hockey history”.  Well, at least there are winter sports and winter sports enthusiasts in Salt Lake City…

Last item for today …  A week ago, I pointed out that four of the five QBs taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft are no longer with the team that took them originally and that none of the four returned anything of significant value to the teams that traded them away.  I have said before that scouting for prospects in pro sports is a difficult undertaking and that drafting and scouting are nowhere near a science.  Perhaps it is an “art”; certainly, it is a “crapshoot”.  And here are two other data points that indicates the lack of scientific predictability for drafting:

  1. In that same 2021 NFL Draft, 32 players were taken in the first round of the Draft.  Only 18 of those 32 first round draftees had their fifth-year contract options exercised by the teams that took them originally.   Only 56% of the first-round picks were deemed to be worth “keeping around” for a fifth year on the team.
  2. By the way, these data are not “cherry-picked”.  In the 2020 NFL Draft, only 12 of the 32 first round picks (37.5%) had their fifth-years options exercised by the team that took them originally.

Finally, since I declared myself “skeptical” above, let me close with this cautionary observation about skepticism by George Santayana:

“Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Three Unrelated Items Today …”

  1. RE: Ohtani
    I would really like to see the SAR’s ( Suspicious Transaction Reports) the bank prepared. There is no way in hell the bank didn’t prepare SAR’s. If they didn’t, they would be in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. The penalties for banks failure to comply with the BSA are significant. A prominent U.S. bank was fined $140 million for failure to comply. I would hope FinCen is on the case. If so, they’ll get to the truth. I agree with the Curmudgeon. There is more to be discerned there.

    1. Willie Jones:

      You obviously know more than I do about the banking regulations and the banking procedures for monitoring improper/suspicious transfers of funds. I hope you are right that an investigation can uncover how all that money changed hands – – and by whom.

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