Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani, a two-way player hailed as baseball’s next Babe Ruth, might want to rejigger his whopping $700M contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers following news that he may be the victim of a “massive theft” by his friend and interpreter.

The Los Angeles Times broke the story that Ippei Mizuhara used millions of Ohtani’s cash to pay off a gambling debt that was owed to a bookie, who is under federal investigation.

Mizuhara claims he asked Ohtani to pay off his debt and he reluctantly agreed. Apparently, no bets were made on baseball games.

The news put a huge damper on Major League Baseball’s much ballyhooed opening day splash in South Korea, where the Dodgers and Padres split a two-game series.

Before the Dodgers second game in Seoul, the media peppered Dodger manager Dave Roberts with questions about the gambling story involving his star player.

Ohtani’s contract calls for $680M of his contract to be deferred until the pact expires in 2033. Depending on his exposure to Mizuhara’s gambling activities, he may require more up-front cash.

It's going to be a long season for Ohtani and Major League Baseball, which counts FanDuel as an official sponsor.

It’s not a good PR look to have the money earned by the biggest baseball star on the planet paying off a bookie.

Just ask Pete Rose, who is MLB’s all time leader in hits, about why he isn’t enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

And the winner is… Australia. “The Land Down Under” won the 2023 “best country brand” award from Madrid-based MARCO integrated communications shop.

The jury cited Australia for its business and tourism savvy and overall standing on the world stage.

Singapore (Asia/Middle East), the US (Americas), Switzerland/Sweden (Europe) and South Africa (Africa) took top honors in regional break-outs in the “doing business" category.

On the tourism front: Australia (Asia/Middle East/Oceana), Peru and Costa Rica (Americas), Spain (Europe) and South Africa (Africa) took top honors.

Didier Lagae is founder and executive chairman of MARCO. Prior to launching MARCO, he was deputy GM at Edelman, head of reputation management in the EMEA for Weber Shandwick, and global head of global communications at The Body Shop.

No news is bad news for PR… Pundits used to say that people moved from traditional newspaper and TV outlets to social media for their news fix. But that’s not really the case, wrote Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper.

He notes that Meta reports news accounts form less than three percent on its Facebook platform.

The majority of people find news, depressing, boring and repetitive. Kuper wrote: “Politicians are being outcompeted by rival celebrities in the attention economy. If the Biden-Trump contest were a reality TV show, it would have been discontinued in 2020. Even Trump has lost his shock value, and some of his wit.”

Only spectacular news videos (Ukraine invasion, Gaza/Hamas war, Mexico/US border standoff) capture people’s attention, but that interest wanes after a certain amount of time.

Kuper predicts a few serious media outlets (e.g., FT) will survive as special-interest publications, like ham-radio magazines in bygone days.

As people lose interest in tracking the news, it becomes easier for leaders like Viktor Orban to dismantle democracy.

America may struggle to save its democracy in the event that Donald Trump returns to office.