MLB Investigating Padres’ Tucupita Marcano for Betting on Baseball, Could Ban Him for Life

  • Marcano is accused of betting on his team’s games when with the Pirates in 2023
  • MLB rules prescribe a lifetime ban for betting on games involving one’s own team
  • He would be the first permanent ban in MLB since Pete Rose in 1989
  • The NBA banned Jontay Porter for life for gambling policy violations
Tucupita Marcano
Tucupita Marcano is accused of betting on his own team’s games while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2023. [Image: / Jeffrey Hyde]

Allegedly bet on his team’s games

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano is under investigation by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s gambling policy. According to The Wall Street Journal, Marcano is alleged to have bet on games involving his own team last year, when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

final punishment is “pending ongoing negotiations between MLB and the MLB Players Association.”

Though no details as to the exact nature or amount of Marcano’s wagers have emerged, WSJ makes it sound as if the investigation is close to completion and a punishment is imminent. The financial newspaper said a final punishment is “pending ongoing negotiations between MLB and the MLB Players Association.”

MLB’s rules clearly state that betting on baseball games is strictly prohibited. According to Rule 21, Marcano will be banned for life if found guilty of betting in games involving his team: “Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.”

Four other players are also under investigation for betting while in the minors, though their names have not been made public. Marcano has not played since July 24, 2023, when he tore his ACL.

Baseball has had gigantic betting scandals

Should Marcano be penalized for betting on baseball, he would be the first MLB player to be punished for gambling since Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart in 2015. Cosart, though, was only hit with a fine for betting with an illegal bookie. He did not bet on baseball.

betting on dozens of Reds games as the team’s manager

Major League Baseball has had two of the most notorious gambling scandals in American sports history. If Marcano is banned for life, he would be the first since the league’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose in 1989. A report by Special Counsel to the Commissioner John M. Dowd detailed Rose’s gambling as player-manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1985 and 1986 and later betting on dozens of Reds games as the team’s manager in 1987. In August 1989, Rose accepted a lifetime ban in exchange for no formal finding by the league in regard to the gambling allegations.

Rose maintained that he never bet on Reds games until finally admitting so in his 2004 memoir.

In 1919, eight members of the Chicago White Sox – a team since dubbed the “Black Sox” – were accused of taking money from an organized crime group to throw the World Series. All eight players, including all-time great “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, were banned from the game, despite being acquitted in court in 1921.

The Black Sox scandal was immortalized in the 1988 film Eight Men Out. It was also a central topic of the novel and 1989 film Field of Dreams, which heavily featured the character Joe Jackson, played by Ray Liotta.

Less serious in terms of game integrity, but still astonishing considering the dollar amounts involved, Ippei Mizuhara, the translator for L.A. Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, pleaded guilty in May to stealing nearly $17m from Ohtani to pay gambling debts.

NBA banned Jontay Porter this year

Marcano would be the second athlete in one of the four major North American professional sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL) to be permanently exiled for violating gambling rules this year. In April, the NBA banned the Toronto Raptors’ Jontay Porter for “limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes.”

wagered $80,000 to win $1.1m on a parlay involving Porter “under” prop bets

The NBA specifically cited a March 20 game against Sacramento Kings in its statement about the ban. Before the game, Porter told a known NBA bettor “confidential information about his own health status.” That bettor then wagered $80,000 to win $1.1m on a parlay involving Porter “under” prop bets.

After three minutes, Porter said he was sick and removed himself from the game. In that short time, he was unable to hit the prop bet marks set by sportsbooks.

Another game in which Porter allegedly did something similar was not mentioned by the NBA. Against the L.A. Clippers on January 26, Porter exited after four minutes because of an alleged reaggravation of an eye injury. DraftKings posted on social media after both games that the biggest winners for its customers were on Porter unders.

The NBA also said that Porter made “at least” 13 bets on NBA games, including three on the Raptors to lose as part of multi-team parlays.

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