MLB Umpire Disciplined For, Appealing Betting Violation

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Umpire Pat Hoberg has been disciplined for violating MLB betting policy, the league said in a statement Friday

The MLB betting probe did not find that Hoberg “compromised or manipulated” any games that he worked. Hoberg is appealing the discipline. 

Hoberg had been best known for calling the umpire’s version of a perfect game (not missing a strike or ball call) behind the plate during the 2022 World Series

League statement on Hoberg matter

Details surrounding what exactly Hoberg did to earn the discipline are unclear. The league provided a statement to LSR:

“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,” the league said. 

“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.” 

MLB betting rules for umpires

Rule 21 prohibits umpires, among other league personnel, from betting on baseball.

Discipline under the MLB betting policy depends on whether the wrongdoer has “no duty to perform in the game” (one year) or “a duty to perform in the game” (permanent ineligibility). 

Umpires Association statement

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association issued a statement Friday saying it was aware of the matter

“The Major League Baseball Umpires Association was made aware in Spring Training that Umpire Pat Hoberg was being investigated for potential violation of Major League Baseball’s sports betting policies,” the statement said. “We have been working with Pat since then. We are now appealing the discipline issued by Major League Baseball. Because the appeal process is ongoing, the Union cannot discuss the matter. We will have no further comment until the appeal process is complete.”

What Hoberg said about his appeal

Hoberg explained in a statement that “the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me.”

“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,” Hoberg said. “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.’’

Recent MLB betting scandals

The Hoberg probe is just the latest sports betting scandal involving MLB. 

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano received a lifetime ban for violating MLB betting policy.

Marcano wagered more than $150,000 on baseball. He wagered 25 times on his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, while on the injured list. 

Four other players received one-year bans for unrelated MLB betting violations. 

Mizuhara facing prison time

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, has pleaded guilty to charges of bank and tax fraud. 

Mizuhara faces up to 33 years in prison. He admitted to stealing $17 million from Ohtani’s bank account to pay gambling debts owed to an illegal bookmaker. 

Photo by AP/Kevin M. Cox