MLB disciplines ump for violating gambling rules

News & Politics

Major League Baseball has announced that it is disciplining umpire Pat Hoberg for alleged unspecified violations of the league’s gambling policy. Almost all of the details regarding the suspension – including the length of the suspension and the nature of the violation – remain shrouded in mystery. Hoberg has denied betting on baseball and is appealing the suspension.

In a statement, MLB said, “During this year’s Spring Training, Major League Baseball commenced an investigation regarding a potential violation of MLB’s sports betting policies by Umpire Pat Hoberg. Mr. Hoberg was removed from the field during the pendency of that investigation. While MLB’s investigation did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised or manipulated in any way, MLB determined that discipline was warranted. Mr. Hoberg has chosen to appeal that determination. Therefore, we cannot comment further until the appeal process is concluded.”

Hoberg did not return requests for comment to multiple media outlets, but he did issue a statement in response to MLB’s statement. “I am appealing Major League Baseball’s determination that I should be disciplined for violating the sports betting policies. While that appeal is pending, it would not be appropriate to discuss the case. That said, I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me. I look forward to the appeal process, and I am grateful that the Major League Baseball Umpires Association is supporting me in the appeal.”

Hoberg is widely regarded as one of the best ball-strike calling umpires in the game, being consistently rated near the top in accuracy ratings by Umpire Scorecards and other independent internet services that grade umpire accuracy.

The suspension comes as baseball and other sports continue to wrestle with the expansion of legalized sports gambling in the United States. Baseball’s most famous player, Shohei Ohtani, was implicated in a major gambling scandal earlier this year when millions of dollars was transferred from his accounts to cover gambling debts placed with an unlicensed bookie. The FBI, MLB, and Ohtani have all stated that they believe this action was done without Ohtani’s knowledge by Ohtani’s interpreter, who has pled guilty to federal charges in connection with the incident.

The MLB also banned Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for life after an investigation allegedly revealed that Marcano had bet on Pirates games while playing with the team. Earlier this year, Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter was banned for allegedly manipulating games at the behest of gamblers.

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