Should MLB Ban Gambling?

I’m not sure whether MLB umps are precluded from gambling activities that are unrelated to baseball; certainly players are permitted to participate in legal, no-baseball betting. We’ve all heard about hi-rolling athletes dropping large sums in Vegas; the press has reported on Alex Rodriguez’s poker playing in recent years. Don Zimmer made no secret of his love for the track. Joe Torre has a stake in at least one race horse; the Boss has long been involved in thoroughbred racing. Maybe it’s time baseball rethink its tolerance for gambling. High stakes gambling can lead to uncomfortable positions and unpleasant bedfellows, and there’s nothing that will undermine a sport faster than the suggestion that the games are in some way fixed. I cast no aspersions on the integrity of those mentioned here, but it’s hard not to worry that it’s only a matter of time before baseball winds up with another Pete Rose situation. And, really, doesn’t the game have enough problems?

3 comments… add one
  • //And really, doesn’t the game have enough problems?//
    Aside from steroids, what problems do you see? George Steinbrenner is the only other problem I see in baseball, though I doubt you agree with me there.

    Atheose - SF July 24, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • George Steinbrenner is hardly a problem. A bit overbearing as an owner, in the past, I’ll grant. But he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is, cares about winning, and you need only look at Tom Hicks to know that he’s not the only one who has been involved in the escalation of player salaries.
    I’ve also heard some stories about him being a pretty caring, gentle person away from the baseball scene. Maybe I’m imagining those, but if at least one is true, it’s hard to label Steinbrenner a “problem”.

    QuoSF July 24, 2007, 3:55 pm
  • Atheose’s question is pertinent, the Steinbrenner assertion is not. What are the problems as you see them, YF?
    From my standpoint, I’d list the following:
    — accessibility/watchability. Too many night games take too long and cost too much to attend. These are three separate but potentially intertwined issues. MLB needs to court the youthful fan!
    — steroids. Lack of testing for HGH in particular.
    — diversity. Why do guys like Sam Perlozzo and Mike Hargrove get all the jobs, just to resign or get fired. Where are the other Willie Randolphs and Ozzie Guillens?
    — The All-Star game determining anything. Stupid. Major problem in my book.
    — transparency in club accounting.
    Beyond the steroid issue (and any unknown corruption issue, a la Tim Donaghy, that can’t be presumed) I just don’t see baseball having many huge problems. Cost of attendance/peripheral media and merchandise is certainly a big concern, but it’s a slippery slope: you want your team to continue to spend to win, they are going to need to continue to source revenue. Can’t have it both ways, I don’t think.

    SF July 24, 2007, 4:24 pm

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