MLB Disciplines Umpire Pat Hoberg for Violating League Gambling Policy

  • MLB launched an investigation during spring training, Hoberg has not umped this season
  • No details as to what he did have been revealed, as an appeal is pending
  • Hoberg is known as one of the best home plate umpires in baseball
  • San Diego’s Tucupita Marcano was recently banned for life for betting on his team’s games
Umpire mask
MLB has disciplined umpire Pat Hoberg for violating the league’s gambling policy, though details of the transgressions and punishment have yet to be revealed. [Image:]

Appeal still pending

Major League Baseball has “disciplined” umpire Pat Hoberg for an alleged violation of the league’s gambling policy. MLB has not provided any details as to what Hoberg did, nor has it announced what the actual punishment is. Hoberg has not worked a game this season.

In a Friday statement, the league said that it started an investigation into a “potential violation” by Hoberg of its sports betting policies and that he was not allowed to umpire games while the investigation was ongoing.

did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised”

“While MLB’s investigation did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised or manipulated in any way,” the league said, “MLB determined that discipline was warranted. Mr. Hoberg has chosen to appeal that determination.”

MLB said that because Hoberg is appealing, it “cannot comment further.”

Hoberg also issued a statement of his own to announced that he was appealing, and said, in part: “….I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me.”

Hoberg is one of the best

Aside from the vagueness of MLB’s announcement, one of the most curious aspects of the situation is that Pat Hoberg is regarded as one of the elite umpires in the game., a site which tracks the performance of home plate umpires, credited Hoberg as calling one of the few perfect games from behind the dish, and it was on the game’s biggest stage: the 2022 World Series. He did not miss a single ball or strike call.

According to the site’s statistics, Hoberg was one of the most accurate home plate umps in baseball last season. Of umpires who called more than one game behind the plate, he was second in accuracy at 95.5% and second in “expected” accuracy. His average “favor,” meaning his impact on a team’s expected runs, was among the lowest in the league, tied for 10th best.

Simply put, nobody would expect Hoberg to have influenced games because of gambling. So what did he do? We won’t find out until after his appeal. If he bet on games in which he umped, he will be banned for life, but if we had to guess, this isn’t the case or it would have come out by now. If he bet on MLB games in which he didn’t ump, he will be suspended for a year. If he bet on other sports, but did so through an illegal bookmaker, the punishment is at the discretion of the Commissioner.

A season of betting scandals

The Hoberg situation is yet another hit to Major League Baseball in a season that has had its share of negative gambling news. Just two weeks ago, the league banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for life for betting on his team’s games in 2022 and 2023 while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Four other players – Oakland A’s pitcher Michael Kelly, Padres minor league pitcher Jay Groome, Philadelphia Phillies minor league infielder José Rodríguez, and Arizona Diamondbacks minor league pitcher Andrew Saalfrank – were suspended for a year for betting on MLB games. All of them placed bets on their big league squads, but because they were in the minors at the time and not on the major league roster, they avoided lifetime bans.

Major League Baseball cleared Ohtani of any wrongdoing

At the very beginning of the season, Ippei Mizuhara, the interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Shohei Ohtani, was found to have stolen nearly $17m from the two-time MVP to pay off gambling debts. Earlier this month, Mizuhara pleaded guilty to fraud and Major League Baseball cleared Ohtani of any wrongdoing.

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