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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-25-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, March 25, 1920:

John A. Heydler, president of the National League, [last night] challenged Lee Magee, former Cincinnati and Chicago National League player, to explode his “biggest bomb in baseball history.”

Magee announced in Cincinnati [two days ago] that he would give out the charges on which the National League bases its action in barring him from its circuit. He added he would “show up some people for tricks turned ever since 1906, and there will be merry music in the baseball world.”
...
[Heydler writes in a letter to Magee’s attorney:] “No charges are pending in this office by or against Mr. Lee Magee. If I understand the position taken by him in this interview he insists that charges have been made against him by someone, that they have to do with gambling, and that he will expose himself and drag others into the matter with him. If there are any others implicated in the batters to which Mr. Magee seems anxious to plead guilty, the more quickly he names them and gives proof of their complicity with him or others, the better it will be for baseball.”

Magee: “I’ll do it! I’ll name names!”
Heydler: “Okay.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:11 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, gambling, history

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Today in Baseball History: The beginning of the end for Pete Rose

In the spring of 1989, Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth was a lame duck. His successor, National League President A. Bartlett Giamatti, was unanimously elected to succeed him the previous September and was poised to take office on April 1. Most lame ducks like Ueberroth do very little of note, but just before stepping out of the spotlight, Ueberroth dropped a bomb: On March 20, 1989 he announced that his office was conducting a “full inquiry into serious allegations” about Cincinnati Reds manager and all-time baseball hit king, Pete Rose.

The announcement — which provided no other details — took the public by surprise, but as is the case with almost anything baseball does, Ueberroth was reacting to bad press. In this case it was a detailed investigative report from Sports Illustrated about Rose’s associations with convicted felons, his alleged huge betting losses and his questionable handling of money he received from memorabilia sales and autograph signings. A few days later Sports Illustrated reported that Ueberroth had received information that Rose may have bet on baseball games. Including Reds games.

Ueberroth hired the attorney John Dowd as special counsel to investigate. Dowd’s report was submitted to Giamatti in May and was made public on June 27. It was voluminous, including eight volumes of exhibits, which included bank and telephone records, betting records, expert reports, and transcripts of interviews with Rose and other witnesses. It was also damning. It’s principal findings, from the introductory summary of the Dowd Report:

“As detailed more extensively herein, Pete Rose has denied under oath ever betting on Major League Baseball or associating with anyone who bet on Major League Baseball. However, the investigation has developed information to the contrary. the testimony and the documentary evidence gathered in the course of the investigation demonstrated that Pete Rose bet on baseball, and in particular, on games of the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Club during the 1985, 1986, and 1987 seasons . . . the accumulated testimony of witnesses, together with the documentary evidence and telephone records reveal extensive betting activity by Pete Rose in connection with professional baseball and, in particular, Cincinnati Reds games, during the 1985, 1986, and 1987 baseball seasons.”

The story of a scoundrel’s downfall.

 

QLE Posted: March 21, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, history, investigation, pete rose

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Today in Baseball History: When Mantle and Mays were banned from baseball

On May 14, 2018 the United States Supreme Court struck down a law that outlawed sports gambling in nearly every state. The ruling began the process of legalized sports gambling spreading all over the United States. It also resulted in a very strange new world for Major League Baseball: it basically got into the gambling business.

In November of 2018, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that MGM Resorts would become the first ever “Official Gaming Partner of Major League Baseball.” MGM began to advertise its many casinos and resorts on MLB Network, MLB.com, the MLB At Bat app and the like. MGM, in turn, was given access to MLB’s official statistics for its online and casino-based sports books. That included “enhanced statistics” given to MGM on an exclusive basis. It was like the league and one of the world’s biggest gambling outfits were working together, hand-in-hand.

Which makes it sort of insane to remember that, not terribly long ago, Major League Baseball actually banned two of the greatest players in its history for merely agreeing to shake hands with people at a casino.

In 1979 Willie Mays, who had just been inducted into the Hall of Fame and who was severing as the New York Mets’ hitting instructor, signed a contract to be a “goodwill ambassador” for the Bally’s Park Place hotel and casino in Atlantic City. It was not a full-time job. Mays’ job was basically, to show up and be famous while doing meet-and-greets at corporate and charity events. Indeed, if anything, there was less of a chance that Mays could be involved in actual gambling with this job than before he had it, because under New Jersey law he had to register with the gambling commission as a casino employee and casino employees were prohibited from making bets. And, for what it’s worth, sports gambling wasn’t even available in New Jersey at the time.

Remember the good old days, when Bowie Kuhn was the worst Commissioner we’ve ever seen?

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2020 at 01:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ban, gambling, history, mickey mantle, willie mays

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Sports bettor allegedly made death threats against Washington Nationals and New England Patriots pla

Acclaimed sports bettor Benjamin “Parlay Patz” Patz is accused of sending violent death threats to professional athletes and their family members with anonymous accounts through Instagram direct messages, according to a release on Wednesday from the Department of Justice. United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez is officially charging Patz with transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce.

....

The Cleveland Indians were another team on that late June parlay, and they would go on to lose to the Orioles where he allegedly sent threatening messages to players on both teams:

To Indians pitcher Zach Plesac: “You and your family will die.”
To Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander: “I’m going to behead you and your entire family.”
To Orioles infielder Jonathan Villar: “I will enter your home while you sleep and sever your neck open with a dull knife” and “I will brutally murder your daughter.”

Less than a month later, this burner account would go on a similarly unhinged spree of messaging professional baseball players after the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Chicago White Sox.

The folk MLB is applying so much energy to be on the good side of, ladies and gentlemen.

 

QLE Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: crimes & misdemeanors, gambling

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

MLB tells court attempts at cheating are a part of sports

NEW YORK (AP) — Attempts at cheating are a part of sports, Major League Baseball said in urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by fantasy contestants.

Five men sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in federal court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, violation of consumer-protection laws, negligence, unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices by teams that violated MLB’s rules against the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs. The five said they participated in DraftKings fantasy baseball contests.

“Rules violations — large and small, intentional and unintentional, technical and game-changing — are a never-ending source of sports television, talk radio, web and elevator commentary by sports pundits and fans alike,” MLB said Friday in papers submitted to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “And fans’ general awareness of the potential for infractions is underscored in this case by the fact that clubs were publicly disciplined for electronic sign-stealing violations during the 2017 regular season.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled last month the Astros violated sign-stealing rules during home games en route to their World Series title in 2017 and again in 2018. He suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season each, and both were fired by the team. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum under MLB rules and stripped the team of its next two first- and second-round draft picks.

If cheating is so inevitable, maybe going all-in with the bookies isn’t the brightest idea in the world…..

 

QLE Posted: February 25, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cheating, fantasy baseball, gambling, lawsuits, mlb

MLB tells court attempts at cheating are a part of sports

NEW YORK (AP) — Attempts at cheating are a part of sports, Major League Baseball said in urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by fantasy contestants.

Five men sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in federal court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, violation of consumer-protection laws, negligence, unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices by teams that violated MLB’s rules against the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs. The five said they participated in DraftKings fantasy baseball contests.

“Rules violations — large and small, intentional and unintentional, technical and game-changing — are a never-ending source of sports television, talk radio, web and elevator commentary by sports pundits and fans alike,” MLB said Friday in papers submitted to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “And fans’ general awareness of the potential for infractions is underscored in this case by the fact that clubs were publicly disciplined for electronic sign-stealing violations during the 2017 regular season.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled last month the Astros violated sign-stealing rules during home games en route to their World Series title in 2017 and again in 2018. He suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season each, and both were fired by the team. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum under MLB rules and stripped the team of its next two first- and second-round draft picks.

If cheating is so inevitable, maybe going all-in with the bookies isn’t the brightest idea in the world…..

 

QLE Posted: February 25, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cheating, fantasy baseball, gambling, lawsuits, mlb

Saturday, February 22, 2020

MLB 2020 Division Winners: Favorites and Best Bets

With spring training now in full swing, betting boards at the Westgate SuperBook are loaded with a massive variety of futures betting options. That includes prices to win each of the six regular season division championships.

Will the Yankees steamroll to back-to-back AL East titles? Will the Dodgers rule the NL West for an eighth straight season? Are any dark horses poised to make a breakthrough? Here is an early look at each team’s title chances.

New York Yankees Are Thick AL East Chalk

New York Yankees: -1200
Tampa Bay Rays: +800
Boston Red Sox: +1600
Toronto Blue Jays: +10000
Baltimore Orioles: +100000

Something for the gamblers among us- interesting to think of how mainstream this sort of thing became so quickly…..

 

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, odds

Friday, February 07, 2020

MLB may alter rules on owners, casino gambling

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball may alter its regulations on team owners and casino gambling in a manner that could impact the Ilitch family.

Marian Ilitch, the wife of late Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, owns Detroit’s MotorCity Casino. Her youngest son, Christopher, is controlling owner of the Tigers.

“The general rule will remain that if the club has an interest in a sportsbook, it can’t take bets on that club,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said after an owners meeting Thursday. “The rule does contemplate that there could be an exception provided that there are certain safeguards built in. The safeguards would essentially ensure that there is no controlled input whatever from the club to the betting operator, has to be a completely independent betting operator.”

Doesn’t feel anywhere near sufficient, does it?

 

QLE Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: casinos, gambling, ownership, tigers

Monday, February 03, 2020

James Holzhauer on Baseball Betting, Revisited

Holzhauer wrote in his “Diary”:

Placing winning sports bets often hinges on an information advantage. The problem is that most publicly available information is already factored into the betting odds.

Q: Oddsmakers know about home field advantage, starting pitchers, and so forth.  But there’s so much more information now than even eight years ago, when you wrote your Hardball Times article –spin rates, exit speeds, detailed batters’ records against certain kinds of pitches, etc. Do oddsmakers dig that deeply? Is there an advantage to bettors to do so?

Holzhauer: Fifteen years ago, baseball was the easiest major sport to bet. I now think it is the toughest. As advanced statistics have gone mainstream, the bookies are using them to set more accurate odds and there are more sharp gamblers out there gobbling up the few good bets. The game lines may not be quite as efficient as the NFL’s, but there aren’t as many props available, limits are lower, and the sports books are less tolerant of sharp action from baseball bettors.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 03, 2020 at 05:50 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Some Tennessee online sports betting rules face criticism

Jumping to the sections most directly connected to baseball:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Professional sports leagues, players’ unions and major gambling companies are hoping to convince Tennessee officials to tweak proposed rules to their liking for the state’s yet-to-be-implemented sports betting program.

The sports betting company DraftKings, Caesars, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the PGA Tour, players’ unions for five pro sports leagues, Facebook and others weighed in during the recent public comment period on the draft regulations. The Tennessee Lottery fielded the comments as the regulatory agency for sports betting, which lawmakers approved last year. There’s still no firm timeline for when the first bets can be placed.

...

There also were a few disagreements: the players’ unions and the MLB, NBA and PGA Tour applauded the law’s requirement for betting firms to use official league data, while the William Hill sports gambling firm expressed concerns, saying a federal court has ruled that that kind of data is public information. Illinois and Michigan also require use of official league data.

I get why Tennessee would want to try to make money off of gamblers- what I don’t get why MLB and the MLBPA would want involvement, especially given news of the last month.

 

QLE Posted: February 02, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling

Monday, January 20, 2020

Astros superfan ‘Mattress Mack’ loses $2 million betting against Chiefs

It hasn’t been a great year for a certain Houston gambling enthusiast’s bank account.

Houston-area furniture chain owner Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” lost nearly $12 million last year betting on the Astros to win the World Series, ostensibly as a way to hedge against a refund promotion for his stores. He had done the same thing in 2017, but it obviously worked out much worse last year.

McIngvale kicked off a new year of sports betting by turning his attention to a new sport, according to The Action Network. His bets: $1 million on the Houston Texans to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC divisional round, then $1 million on the Tennessee Titans to beat those same Chiefs in the AFC championship game.

Yeah, that didn’t work out.

Turns out it’s been a bad last few days for even people only tangentially tied to the Astros…..

 

QLE Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:29 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fans, gambling, winners and losers

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New Jersey sports books could lose millions to high roller ‘Mattress Mack’ if Astros win World Serie

The Houston Astros are one game away from winning the World Series, something that would be costly for New Jersey sports books — largely due to one bettor who doesn’t even live here but has wagered around $4 million on the Astros winning it all.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has been making headlines back in his home state of Texas for the large bets he has been placing on the Astros to win it all. The furniture mogul who owns three Gallery Furniture stores in Houston is offering a promotion to his customers where he would give full refunds up to $3,000 if the Astros win.

“I believe in the Astros,’’ McIngvale told the Asbury Park Press. “I’ve watched them play all year.”

The bets are in part a hedge against the cost of the promotion, said Darren Rovell, a sports business analyst and betting expert who works for Action Network.

Somewhere, Sport Sullivan is kicking himself….

 

QLE Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:23 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling, new jersey, world series

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Houston Mattress Magnate bets millions on Astros to win World Series

People in Houston need no introduction to Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who owns Gallery Furniture in Houston. A lot of sports fans may not either, as he’s made quite a name for himself by associating his business with both the highs and lows of the Houston Astros over the years.

I don’t know much about his business at large, but he’s been on our radar for several years. Back in 2014, when the Astros were absolutely terrible, he promised a customers who spent a certain amount of money on furniture at his store a refund if the Astros didn’t lose 100 games that year. They lost only 92 games and Mattress Mack had to pay out $4 million or so in refunds. In 2017 he did a similar thing except this time he offered big refunds if the Astros won the World Series. Which they did, of course, which cost Mattress Mack around $12 million.

Mattress Mack is at it again this year. He’s been offering customers who spend over $3,000 on stuff a refund if the Astros once again win the World Series, as they’re favored to do.

One might think that this is irresponsible, but you probably don’t become a successful furniture salesman if you’re not savvy about such things. I mean, without even knowing anything about the guy or listening to him explain himself, it’s a very safe assumption that the guy simply — and correctly — figured that his offer was great, mostly free advertising, that it increased sales volume and that it might’ve inspired people on the fence to buy something. His margins, along with some well-thought-out conditions on the refund offer, no doubt ensures that his “crazy” promotion will do more good than harm for his business.

If only the teams could be this flamboyant with their promotions….

 

QLE Posted: October 03, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling, world series

 

 

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