Posted: 10/07/15 16:11
by Dave Mindeman
The baseball season is over. The playoffs begin. The Twins improved but will have to wait till next year. However, Major League Baseball has some other serious issues to address....and because big money is involved, I'm guessing they won't.
I'm talking about Fantasy Sports. But before I get to the heart of the matter, I want to digress and point out something very hypocritical in the corporate structure that is our national pastime.
And that involves Pete Rose. Pete Rose is the all time hit king. His record continues and nobody has gotten close. But he is not in the Hall of Fame and that is because he committed a big transgression. He gambled on baseball. Never mind that he only bet on his own team and only to win. It still broke the rules that supposedly are meant to protect the "integrity" of the game.
We won't go into steroids and performance enhancing drugs. We won't go into alcohol abuse. Domestic violence. Cheating. Or exploitation of young foreign nationals. We don't have to deal with that right now. Yes, Pete Rose was the culprit worthy of a lifetime ban from baseball, because he was the player that put baseball's integrity in jeopardy.
Given the latest reports on Fantasy Games, the Rose situation almost seems comical. After all, it has been a dirty little secret that no matter how you want to define it, fantasy sports is gambling. People lose enormous sums of money and in the latest scandal, winners used insider trading to cheat.
And lest you think that Major League Baseball will surely crack down on this "integrity" killing scenario, consider this:
Just in time for the 2015 season, MLB expanded an exclusive partnership with DraftKings that includes a co-branded daily fantasy game. DraftKings is also teaming up with individual MLB clubs for promotions at the ballpark.
And after the scandal, this....
Major League Baseball, which owns a stake in DraftKings and has a sponsorship deal with it, said in a statement that it had a policy that "prohibits its own players and employees from participating in fantasy baseball games where money or something of value is at stake, and did not know that the situation was different at DraftKings."
Major League Baseball not only condones this "gambling" venue, they profit from it with an investment stake.
It is getting increasingly difficult for anyone to take that lifetime ban of Pete Rose by Major League Baseball very seriously. Frankly, fantasy sports seems much more dangerous to the integrity of the game than any bets with a bookie. It fools young people into thinking that putting money in an online fantasy league is as harmless as trading baseball cards. And we know that is not true.
Baseball probably won't change its fantasy games policy. There is too much money and TV revenue to generate. But at least they could get rid of the total hypocrisy of punishing Pete Rose for the rest of his life.
Baseball has lost any claim to the "integrity of the game". At least give Pete Rose the recognition he still deserves.