Marcano bet on his own team

Major League Baseball (MLB) has banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for betting on baseball. In Tuesday’s announcement, the league said that he placed 387 bets, including 231 that involved MLB teams, in two stretches in 2022 and 2023. What got him banned for life, though, was that 25 of the bets were on his team at the time, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Major League Rule 21 lays out the league’s policies around sports betting. It is permitted, but only on other sports and only with legal sportsbooks. If a player is found to have bet on MLB games, but not on their own team, they face a one-year suspension. If a player is found to have bet on games involving their team, which is what Marcano did, a lifetime ban is in play.

In total, Marcano bet more than $150,000 on baseball, $87,319 of that on MLB games. And he was oh, so bad at betting, winning only 4.3% of his MLB-related wagers.

The league said that Marcano never bet on any games in which he played (the vast majority of his bets were after he suffered a torn ACL on July 24, 2023 – he has not played since) and that there is no evidence that any game’s integrity was harmed because of his betting.

Additional suspensions

Four other players were also suspended for one year for betting on baseball:

  • Oakland A’s pitcher Michael Kelly
  • San Diego Padres minor league pitcher Jay Groome
  • Philadelphia Phillies minor league infielder José Rodríguez
  • Arizona Diamondbacks minor league pitcher Andrew Saalfrank

Kelly is the only one of the four who is currently on a major league squad. All of them bet while in the minor leagues, three of them in organizations other than the ones they are in now (Saalfrank was in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system when he gambled). All of them also placed bets involving the major league clubs of their organizations, but because they weren’t on the big league ball club at the time, their violations do not rise to the severity of Marcano’s.

None of the four players wagered sums of money that come anywhere near Marcano’s. Rodríguez bet the most, $749.09, almost all of which were on MLB games. Kelly risked his career and likely forfeited the rest of his $750,000 salary on less than $100 worth of bets.

Like Marcano, Groome was hilariously bad at betting. On $453.74 in MLB-related wagers, he had a net loss of $433.54, winning only two of 32 bets.

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