MLB hypocrisy on Pete Rose shines through with betting windows

Pete Rose in June 2017.061717 REDS
Pete Rose in June 2017.061717 REDS /

Gambling on baseball and conspiring to throw games are the great cardinal sins in Major League Baseball. Even before the days of the first professional league in 1871, players were banned for such actions – back in 1865, the trio of Thomas Devyr, Ed Duffy, and William Wansley were banned for associating with known gamblers.

In the wake of the Black Sox Scandal, and after Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis came down with a heavy hand on anyone who was even remotely involved with such nefarious actions. Back in the 1980s, commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle for working at a casino. When Pete Rose was given his lifetime banishment, it was understood that would be the end of his story, pending his appeals for reinstatement.

Pete Rose victim of MLB hypocrisy

There was seemingly no question that Rose would remain banned, especially after he wrote a book admitting to those allegations. Despite his continued appeals, Rose would be on the outside looking in, his sins too great to get back into the good graces of the game.

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But a lot has changed over the past few years. MLB has begun to cozy up to the sports betting universe, with Bally’s Casinos purchasing the naming rights to a group of regional sports networks. Betting windows are being installed in stadiums so that fans can place their wagers in real time. Las Vegas is bound to get a team, whether the A’s relocate or an expansion franchise is awarded to the city.

And yet, despite the game cozying up to gambling, Rose remains on the outside. One can certainly argue that his actions, betting on his team while a player and manager, cross that line, as did the actions of others who were looking to throw a game. However, Rose was betting on his team to win, which makes for the argument that his infraction was not as bad as others who were also banned.

Rose may not matter to the league, and his status likely does not cross any of their minds. But it is certainly not a good look for the game to decry gambling and turn Rose into a pariah on one hand, and open betting windows at the ballpark on the other. It is just another way that MLB can chase the money regardless of how hypocritical it may be.

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Major League Baseball is putting gambling windows in ballparks. And yet, Pete Rose remains banished for betting on baseball.