Oh, how times are changing. Pete Rose, who is still banned from baseball for having bet on the game, will host his own sports betting contest starting today on Quake Media.
On Pete Rose’s Daily Picks, the all-time hit king will feature his gambling selections in baseball, football, basketball, and other sports six times a week. Rose, who resides in Las Vegas, is renowned as a sports enthusiast who “watched two or three baseball games per day” and “loves all sports.”
“I know how it looks, and people will criticize,’’ Rose said in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. “But it’s not gambling. It’s handicapping. I’m a handicapper.’’
Rose’s podcast will be available via Quake Media, and on Apple Podcasts.
Banned From Baseball
In 1989, Rose was banned from baseball by Major League Baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti, after an investigation that linked the Cincinnati manager to betting on baseball while he was in his position with the team. While the MLB inquiry never formally found that Rose had bet on the game, Giamatti told the media that he believed the former superstar had done so. The ban, which bars Rose from taking a job in baseball, as well as even attending a game without permission, is still in place. Due to his placement on MLB’s “permanently ineligible list,” Rose cannot be considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame. His status as a baseball “outlaw” is controversial, to say the least.
After initially denying that he ever bet on baseball while he was a manager, Rose admitted it when he released his book My Prison Without Bars in 2004. Since, he has tried to establish himself as a good citizen in the sport, even working as an MLB analyst for Fox Sports on their pregame show for three seasons.
Rose earns most of his income by signing autographs from a sports memorabilia location on the Vegas Strip. He remains a popular and polarizing figure. Former teammate Johnny Bench has stated that he does not think Rose should be reinstated to baseball, nor should he earn election to the Hall of Fame, citing the sin of having broken baseball’s #1 rule.
Changing Attitudes Toward Sports Betting
The sports world was a much different place in 1989 when Rose was banned from baseball. At that time, sports leagues bent over backwards to distance themselves from anything betting related. In 1980, MLB banned Willie Mays from the game just because he accepted a job as a greeter at a Nevada casino. Three years later the same decision was made when Mickey Mantle took a similar gig.
Point shaving scandals and game-fixing rumors hovered over the NCAA and the NFL, as well as the NBA in years past. The 1919 Black Sox Scandal, when eight members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series, left an indelible mark on the National Pastime. For decades, every baseball clubhouse in the majors and minor leagues had a sign on the door explaining that gambling on the game was against the rules.
But today, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 to remove the restrictive ban on sports betting in the country, many states now offer legalized gambling both in-person and online. Fans of the game of baseball can bet on which players will get the most strikeouts, whether a run will be scored in a specific inning, as well as on which teams will win the pennant. Not only that, but the league itself has struck deals with “official gaming partners.” Broadcasts include the odds scrolling at the bottom of the screen, and retail sportsbooks are located at ballparks.
If baseball doesn’t like gambling, it has a funny way of showing it.
Many observers of sports and the betting industry have called out MLB for their hypocrisy in keeping Rose out of the sport while cozying up to gambling companies. Last year, Bally’s purchased the naming rights to most of the regional TV sports networks for MLB broadcasts, so now millions of fans are watching their teams on a channel that is branded and marketing sports betting every single day of the season. National postseason pregame shows have former players like Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz speculating on whether or not a certain bet will pay off in the upcoming game. Sports betting isn’t just becoming more prominent, it’s woven into the sports we watch now.
Still, Rose’s transgression: placing bets when he was in a position to directly influence the outcomes in a game, is serious enough that many feel he should still be banned. Hypocrisy or not, if you do the crime, you have to serve the time.
Betting On The MLB Playoffs
The MLB Playoffs are underway, providing plenty of action for sports bettors:
NL Division Series: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
NL Division Series: Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Game One: Friday, October 8 at 4:30 PM EST in Milwaukee
NL Division Series: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Game One: Thursday, October 7 at 8 PM EST in Tampa
NL Division Series: Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
Game One: Thursday, October 7 at 4 PM EST in Houston