Many of you may still remember him – Cincinnati-born baseball star Pete Rose, also known as “Charlie Hustle” is still one of the most successful players in professional baseball. He went into retirement as an all-time leader in hits, games and at-bats. He served as a manager for the Reds until in 1989 he was suspected to have bet against his team while serving as manager. He was found guilty after an investigation by the Commissioner’s office who hired former Justice Department prosecutor John Dowd to shed some light on the matter.
And he is not the only one that got canned for gambling. In fact there is a whole list of players and managers who got banned for their love for casinos. Some of them did not even take a bet. For example, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were banned from baseball in 1983, a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey hired them as greeters and autograph signers. So you see, that the league is pretty harsh when it comes to gambling.
Of course, there is a lot of suspicious stuff going on, when baseball players and managers start to gamble. Just now, the court ruled that a casino has to give back money, gambled by a baseball player, although, to be fair, he was a con artist, too.
Pete Rose was barred for life from the sport for this and still remains in exile to this very day. Don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with official wagering and other forms of gambling, it is a time honored tradition that is a part of baseball culture. But not while managing a team. That’s just wrong and more than a little bit suspicious, right? Wait – is there a lesson in here somewhere about the behavior of baseball managers? Let’s see.
The other form of gambling – the one that’s legal, obviously.
Let’s face it, our economy is in the crapper, everybody knows that. Really, everybody? Well, the message has not yet reached many managers in our beloved sport. There, a speculation bubble is growing, because teams are spending ludicrous heaps of money on players that aren’t that much of a superstar. In 2012, Anibal Sanchez scored an $80 million five-year contract and Brandon League $22.5 million three-year contract. These are just two examples for multi-million dollar deals for not so multi-million dollar players. The teams obviously can afford it. They are being backed by billion-dollar TV deals, so they obviously can afford it. Problem is – this is more or less the same kind of high-ledge speculation that sent our economy down the drain. The TV-networks are struggling with their finances, too, and the cash-flow is all but certain. Why is there no rule against that kind of gambling in this sport? I mean, what would happen, if the stream of money would suddenly dry up? I am a pessimist you say? Well, it is already happening in other countries all over the world. Shouldn’t there be some kind of rule to protect the teams from such dangerous speculation? Pete Rose was banned for betting on his own team – who bans the managers who bet on getting outrageous sums of money from their sponsors? Also, there is one other thing…
This really is not reflecting too well
Although right now, most baseball teams are quite healthy financially, there is no reason to spend such outrageous sums for not-top-notch players. Why? Because it looks bad for the fans. Imagine sitting on the bleachers, watching those overpaid players to their thing. Have you never thought something along the lines of “I have to have two jobs to support my family, but this guy is getting millions to be an okay baseball player?” If you haven’t, let me tell you, many people have. In fact, one of the reasons why stadium admittance is declining and the teams need to come up with insane promotions is, because many people feel that the sport is losing touch with their own social reality. And you know who is depending on those spectators, too? The TV-networks. You see the circle coming around? So, let’s learn from Pete Rose and make our managers not gamble with their teams? Pretty please?