Baseball’s Latest Gamble

I don’t trust baseball.

This should come as a shock to no one who is familiar with this website, nor to any slightly distrusting conspiracy theorist, nor to anyone who has followed Major League Baseball for let’s say, the past forty years, or longer if we weren’t so young and disillusioned.  The wool, is no longer over, our eyes.  Or is it?

Baseball recently banned a player for life.  His name is Tucupita Marcano, a name you likely haven’t heard of until now, a name that within a few years will become one of those unanswerable $1000 sports questions on Jeopardy.  His is a name you’ll likely soon forget as it pales in heralded glory to the other players the sport chose to disgrace, like Shoeless Joe or Charlie Hustle.  Tucupita Marcano didn’t even have time to earn a nickname, yet there he sits alongside them, no longer allowed to have anything to do with baseball.

Hours after his ban, you’d barely have noticed.  To distract us from the much larger Ohtani story, baseball whipped out its shell game, propping up some random sacrificial lamb and sent him into its cornfield.  Somebody had to pay. had no mention of the ban on its front page only hours after the news, baseball’s “zero tolerance” stance a sweep under the rug into obscurity.  Let’s play ball!

Tucupita Marcano is a (former) Pittsburgh Pirates infielder, a three-year veteran and lifetime .217 hitter, who is now no longer allowed to enter any Major League ballpark.  He’s an easy target for certain.

The move to ban Marcano was swift after he allegedly wagered over $150,000 on the sport that he (used to) play(s), a no-no that has seen players far more recognizable banned for life. 

Gambling is the sport’s only unforgiveable rule, Major League Baseball’s Rule 21-2:

 Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible. 

The Just Say Marca-No news comes in the wake of another gambling scandal that (nearly) rocked the sport.  Major League Baseball’s most internationally recognizable superstar and two-time MVP, 29-year-old, Shohei Ohtani, was involved in a gambling scandal wherein his interpreter stole $16 million from his employer, allegedly, and lost upwards of $40 million wagering.  Ohtani signed a $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers last off-season but much of that money was deferred.  What’s a few million dollars between friends?

It’s perfectly understandable if all these zeroes have your head spinning.  These figures are far above our pay grades, but it does seem odd that Ohtani, a man pegged to rescue a league in need of rescuing, got off with no penalty while his former interpreter potentially faces over thirty years of prison time.  Things that make you go hmmmm.

Meanwhile, at celebrity signings and conference rooms around the nation, the sports’ most famous exile trolls Ohtani ruthlessly.  Those who never sided with forgiving Pete Rose must now feel at least a little remorse for the guy.  All he’s done with every waking breath for over twenty years is apologize for betting on the sport he loves.  Those apologies and subsequent requests for reinstatement have fallen on deaf ears.  Here he jokes about how he wishes he had an interpreter.

Baseball’s act has grown tired.  It remains an institution that tries to convince us it’s smarter than us all when that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Considering we still don’t know exactly how much Pete Rose bet and when, and we’ve researched that for years, it sure is commendable that the sport’s crack staff of gambling investigators wrapped up both Marcano and Ohtani cases with the efficiency of a Pete Rose at bat, knowing who to suspend and who to forgive.

Marcano is the fall guy.  By most reports, he gambled and henceforth deserves the punishment at hand.  It is baseball’s written rule.  Ohtani never gambled on the sport, also allegedly.  You can also trust that any Zapruder film of him doing so will never come out, at least not if baseball has anything to say about it.  Those files have long since been shredded.  Only his interpreter did, to the tune of eight figures without Ohtani’s knowledge.  That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

I want to be very clear that I am not accusing anyone of wrongdoing, other than the sport itself.  Marcano may have gambled his career away, literally.  And it is perfectly conceivable that, with all his celebrity and goings on, Shohei Ohtani had no idea that the person he trusted most, the person he spent a hell of a lot of time with, was placing million-dollar wagers with his money right under his nose.

It just smells fishy and if I’m Pete Rose, I’m beyond pissed.  Perhaps, instead of begging for reinstatement, Rose should take the Bonds and Clemens approach and tell Major League Baseball where it can stick its lifetime ban.

Nearly everyone can gamble on sports these days.  Sports wagering is now legal in 38 of 50 states.  The only people who can’t gamble are those who participate in the sports they play.  Throwing a game is the sports fans ultimate low blow.  We still blindly believe that the sporting events we watch are genuine and pristine.  If the games are rigged and the outcomes predetermined, then the merit of the game has its legs cut right out from under it and what’s the point of watching.

While that’s all fine and dandy, I’m just not buying what baseball is selling, especially from a self-serving sport that has lied to me in the past.  To recap, a relative unknown who didn’t have the money to cover his tracks gets banned for life but an infinitely higher profile player who just signed one of the richest contracts in professional sports history is deemed innocent.  If that’s the case, I have a backloaded contract to sell you along with a counterfeit ticket to Cooperstown.

As an idealistic sports fan, I’m all for believing what I watch is real.  As a gambler, I’m fully aware of the temptation that might sway the thrill seeker, especially when you throw in an extra couple of zeros.

There was no way on this green earth that baseball was going to ban its biggest star, not with so much on the line.  It’s a scandal the sport could ill afford.  It’s unfortunate but it’s what Baseball has always done.  Serve itself at the expense of others and define the word integrity by its own malleable standards.

As for watching any more baseball, you can go ahead and deal me out.

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2 Replies to “Baseball’s Latest Gamble”

  1. Baseball is a beautiful game. Unfortunately, we live in a corrupt society controlled by unscrupulous vermin. I agree completely with your hypothesis concerning as to whom is truly at fault. To express myself simply , I hate their guts.
    So in conclusion : people bad , Baseball beautiful.

  2. Deac..

    Rose banned from baseball and now this.

    The latest news from Nathan’s Daily is that Joey Chestnutt will not be competing in this year’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as he has signed an agreement with a plant-based food product.

    What’s the world coming to? Hopefully, lower cholesterol levels.

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