Report: Pete Rose bet on baseball as a player, not just as a manager

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For years one of the primary defenses of Pete Rose has centered on the notion that he only bet on baseball as a manager, not as a player. ESPN’s Outside the Lines is reporting, however, that that is not the case:

But new documents obtained by Outside the Lines indicate Rose bet extensively on baseball — and on the Cincinnati Reds — as he racked up the last hits of a record-smashing career in 1986. The documents go beyond the evidence presented in the 1989 Dowd report that led to Rose’s banishment and provide the first written record that Rose bet while he was still on the field.

“This does it. This closes the door,” said John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor who led MLB’s investigation.

The documents — which you can see via the ESPN link above — were part of a separate organized crime investigation which had nothing to do with Rose specifically or gambling. The records have been sealed for years and even Dowd was unable to get them for the original Rose investigation. He had testimony of an organized crime figure at the time, but no corroboration.

The bets tend to be around $2,000 a game. He bet on multiple games a day for multiple days in a row at a time, his addiction to gambling made plain.

The documents do not provide any evidence that Rose bet against the Reds. Worth noting, however, that baseball’s rules against gambling do not make a distinction, and the competitive integrity of a game can be compromised whether one bets for or against oneself. Also worth noting that, for years, Pete Rose has steadfastly denied betting on baseball while he was still an active player.

Rose is currently appealing his banishment from the game, with Commissioner Rob Manfred stating that he will give Rose’s case a full and fresh review. Some have speculated that his reinstatement could come at the time of the All-Star Game in Cincinnati next month, or soon after. As it is, he has been given permission to participate in on-field activities during the All-Star festivities. One would have to think, however, that this new information will put a serious damper on his appeal.

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.