Yankees announcer calls out Shohei Ohtani for dodging gambling questions

Los Angeles Dodgers v Minnesota Twins
Los Angeles Dodgers v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

Shohei Ohtani moves in silence. From his decision about the team he'll spend the rest of his career with, to the name of his dog, to his relationship status, to the name of his wife — Ohtani maintains a stunning amount of personal agency for such a high-profile figure. At this point, his fame transcends the game. Even if you've never seen a baseball game in your life, you've probably heard about Shohei Ohtani.

But this level of secrecy and close-lipped-ness doesn't sit well with everyone, and it certainly hasn't in the wake of the gambling scandal attached to former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara that Ohtani has been embroiled in since late March. Aside from giving a prepared statement to the press, after which he took no questions from reporters, he's stayed mum on the issue. It's a sensitive subject, and multiple government agencies and MLB are involved in the investigation, so it's no surprise that he's opted into a characteristic silence.

Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay took exception to that silence on Wednesday, before news broke that Mizuhara is set to plead guilty and new evidence suggests Ohtani is as innocent as he claimed. Kay said, "The most unbelievable thing to me, fans don’t care about this, the guy has never had to take questions on this. Not once!”

Yankees announcer Michael Kay took a shot at Shohei Ohtani for evading questions about gambling probe

This is where we could get into a potentially sticky realm of moralizing. How much privacy are public figures entitled to? On one hand, Ohtani is still a private citizen who is entitled to not having to share his every thought with reporters and fans, especially when it comes to a situation with actual legal implications. On a broader scale, the money he's owed is solely the Dodgers' responsibility. On the other, Ohtani is the face of baseball, and the league has a lot riding on him. Gambling has been so pervasive throughout sports in the last few years that this issue is bound to have a ripple effect that goes beyond baseball.

After Wednesday's developments — investigations have found evidence to believe that Mizuhara tampered with Ohtani's settings to not notify him about activity on his accounts — Ohtani seemed to have been telling the truth about being stolen from, and probably had nothing to say other than to maintain his innocence.

It's a weird situation all around, but we shouldn't expect Ohtani's behavior to change much because of it. Next thing we know, he'll be announcing his months-prior adoption of a cat on Instagram and we'll all just have to go with it.