Rob Manfred Says Slower Pace of Play in MLB Favors Creative Gambling Wagers

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 27, 2018

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a news conference at MLB headquarters in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday a "new multiyear agreement" that "designates MGM Resorts as the first-ever 'Official Gaming Partner of MLB' and 'Official Entertainment Partner of MLB.'"

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred offered his thoughts on the partnership and gambling, including the following remarks on betting relative to the game's pace of play, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says slower pace of play of baseball is an advantage in gambling as “it gives an opportunity to be creative with respect to the types of wagers” that could be made in between plays.

Tuesday's news and Manfred's comments were stunning considering the oil-and-water relationship baseball and gambling have had over the years.

Two of the game's uglier incidents revolved around betting. In 1921, eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball for their roles in allegedly throwing the World Series. Sixty-eight years later, Cincinnati Reds manager and all-time hits leader Pete Rose was also banned for betting on the game.

Sports gambling was illegal in almost all the country for years, but the act has recently jumped through some legal hoops.

As noted by Adam Liptak and Kevin Draper of the New York Times, "the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law on [May 14] that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states, opening the door to legalizing the estimated $150 billion in illegal wagers on professional and amateur sports that Americans make every year."

Per Mark Gallant of the Action Network, Rhode Island on Monday became the eighth state to legalize sports gambling. More states may soon follow.

With the partnership, MLB essentially joined the sports betting wave.

As for Manfred's comments on gambling and pace of play, there's only so much betting you can do between pitches, even if the game is slow. And gamblers are better off wagering before games, as they'll likely get better odds then.

Still, it's remarkable the commissioner made such comments given that the act has been viewed as a mortal sin in the past.