Around the time that the new commissioner of Major League Baseball replaced the Chevy salesman, speculation arose as to whether or not he would consider rescinding the banishment of Pete Rose from baseball. There has yet to be a decision announced on that matter, although the Fox network has already welcomed the slime into its large family of questionable characters and nearly qualified journalists. The inquiry prompted a review of Rose’s case on ESPN and, in somber terms, that network’s report concluded that what made it so difficult to forgive the former Cincinnati and Philadelphia horse’s ass was the fact that he had bet on games played by his team when he was its manager.
Remember when gambling wasn’t cool? The odd thing about the ESPN report was that, when it ended and they broke to commercials, an ad for DraftKings appeared. DraftKings came from out of nowhere this season to suddenly be everywhere your eyes could see, the official separator of fools from their money for MLB. Every screen you looked at, every fence behind every backstop bore their logo and seemingly every break between innings of every game featured that advertisement that bragged about how 300 million dollars were going to be “awarded” that summer—just pick your players and win, fool. Now I see that there are other players in this great scam and I also see that the attorney general of the state of New York calls it illegal gambling and wants to boot them out of that state. Of course, they have no doubt raked in enough money to fight whatever legal battles that may be on the horizon but folks, let’s tell it like it is—it’s gambling. If I pick my player, say Wilmer Flores, and he gets five doubles in six plate appearances, maybe I will win. So where do my winnings come from? Probably from all of those idiots who chose Mike Trout, who struck out all four at bats. However, I’ll “bet” that you need to pick more than one player What everyone knows who follows baseball is this:you have good days and bad days and, for just about everyone, bad days rule. The house always wins, or someone gets a broken back.
Picking a group of players to do well all on the same day is equivalent to what was called a “parlay” when I was a lad and my father and his friend John would often pick a two or three team group to win on a certain day. They made their choices, carefully considering the starting pitchers (always important, but even more so in the 50s before the bullpen got crowded with guys the manager could barely remember), the home ballpark, who was “hot”, etc. Still, nothing was automatic; there were days when Washington’s Chuck Stobbs was going to beat Whitey Ford, even at Yankee Stadium. If they “hit” a 3-teamer it was cold draft beer and a shot for everybody, but how often do you think that happened? Yeah.
Gambling was illegal just about everywhere in those days. That did not, of course, mean that it was not prevalent. The reasoning was that only the poorest fools would squander their earnings so recklessly and that their families, and society would suffer as a result, although I often thought that, as with so many other forbidden practices, the earning power for the racketeers ballooned as a result of the law. The other part though is that gamblers could seek to influence competition to insure the desired results for their shareholders. They tried and, as we know, sometimes succeeded. That’s why Rose was banned, along with the fact that even though a player or manager might be betting on his team to win, when he inevitably falls into debt to the bookies, things could change. Gambling is so very mainstream these days. We used to have Las Vegas and the rest of the state of Nevada; now it’s everywhere. Indian casinos, a bass ackward attempt at paying 2 or 3 per cent of the surviving members of the people who lived in the Americas before Europeans came to slaughter a large amount of money to exploit the rest of us, are ubiquitous. State lotteries, church bingo, whatever. Much of it is relatively harmless and helps raise funds for worthy causes. This Fan Duel and DraftKings stuff is not like that. It’s more like big business and easy money, just like online poker etc.
Major league baseball should not be endorsing it and you, brothers and sisters, should not participate. Unless, of course, you like being a loser.