MLB Umpire Disciplined for Violating Gambling Policy

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
Jun/14/2024

Major League Baseball announced Friday it has disciplined umpire Pat Hoberg for violating the league's gambling rules. 

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Should he be found to have gambled on games he officiated, Hoberg would be in violation of MLB's Rule 21 and likely banned for life.  Betting on games umpires are not involved in could result in a one-year suspension.

In the 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 is appealing the decision.

Hoberg, in a statement, said: "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 first umpired major league games in 2014 and became a full-time umpire in 2017.

The news comes just one week after the MLB banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano after a legal sportsbook informed the league that he had bet on games while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oakland Athletics reliever Michael Kelly and three minor league players were also suspended for a season for betting on MLB games while playing in the minors.

The league investigated and cleared Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani after his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was accused of stealing more than $16 million from Ohtani to cover sports-gambling losses. Mizuhara has since plead guilty to bank and tax-fraud charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of 33 years.

Additionally, Ohtani's former Los Angeles Angels teammate David Fletcher is under investigation by MLB for allegations that he gambled with an illegal bookmaker, sources previously told ESPN's T.J. Quinn.

"The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball's rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement announcing the players' discipline. "The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century. We have been clear that the privilege of playing in baseball comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of behavior that are legal for other people."

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