Feb 29, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani speaks to media during a workout at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

New York media, particularly the sports scene, is known for being ruthless. They’ll dissect your every move, especially during struggles or controversies. While the past might have seen players strategically avoiding teams based on this scrutiny, the rise of social media has created a national platform for criticism regardless of location.

New York undeniably holds a central place in North American sports. From the legend of Tommy DeVito (and his agent) to Zach Wilson and the everintriguing New York Mets, the city commands a significant share of sports news, whether you like it or not.

With relentless sports talk radio shows and the ever-scrutinizing headlines of The New York Post and The New York Daily News, New York media would undoubtedly hold Shohei Ohtani’s feet to the fire amidst the ongoing gambling scandal. As baseball’s biggest star, Ohtani finds himself embroiled in controversy. The Los Angeles Dodgers recently fired his longtime interpreter and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, after questions arose concerning millions of dollars allegedly transferred from Ohtani’s account to an illegal gambling operation.

Ohtani refuses to speak to the media, or the Dodgers aren’t letting him. However you want to see it, they prevent reporters from doing their jobs. According to Chelsea Janes, a national baseball writer for the Washington Post, Dodgers PR staffers guarded Ohtani’s locker as he changed following the team’s 15-11 loss to the San Diego Padres in the Seoul Series.

Janes took to Twitter/X, explaining how Ohtani remained silent after a public relations staff member informed reporters he wouldn’t comment. Despite reporters surrounding his locker for a last-ditch attempt, Ohtani departed the clubhouse, offering a parting “good night” through his Japanese translator.

So, how does New York fit into all of this?

Well, according to Howie Rose, the radio play-by-play voice for the New York Mets, the media market in The Big Apple wouldn’t have let what transpired in Korea happen. And while it’s still unclear whether that’s a referendum on the national reporters or the Dodgers beat, Rose seems to think that Mets and Yankees reporters would find a way to get the job done.

“I know this much. The New York media, whatever you think of them (us), would not stand for this,” Rose said as he took to his Twitter/X account. “How that might manifest, I don’t know, but before long, the demand for accountability would be met, regardless of whatever answers might or might not be offered.”

Rose offered no concrete solutions to address Ohtani’s media shyness. While New York baseball reporters are thorough, Ohtani is known to be withdrawn and uninterested in media interactions. This personality trait likely factored into his decision to stay in Los Angeles, where both the Angels and Dodgers accommodated his preference.

So, it’s unclear what Rose meant when he said he wouldn’t stand for it, and neither would his colleagues. How that night manifests would probably be through talk radio and online outlets putting pressure on the organization and shifting public opinion to sour on the team/person. And while that has certainly worked from time to time, just ask Mike Francesa, who took credit for Mike Piazza being traded to the Mets; it’s not the end-all, be-all.

Rose’s comments about accountability are likely why Ohtani never considered New York in his highly publicized free agency pursuit. The New York media would undoubtedly hold him accountable, and they wouldn’t stand for being snubbed by PR staffers, but whether it truly matters with the game’s biggest star is anyone’s guess.

Most fans would be forgiving as long as he performs well, which can unfortunately be said for more than just this situation. Ultimately, Ohtani’s lack of media engagement might not be a dealbreaker if his on-field performance is exceptional enough to speak publicly will blow over, even if the story itself will continue to dominate headlines.

[Howie Rose on Twitter/X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.