This came up on my Twitter timeline earlier this week, and after further research, I am dumbfounded why this guys is getting blacklisted by the MLB.
If you don't know Peter Bayer was a ninth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016. The right-handed pitcher was traded to Oakland in May 2018 for Wilmer Font, where he then appeared in 37 games out of the bullpen for the the High-A Stockton Ports. He's been in the news talking about how the Oakland organization cutting players pay during 2020 and Door Dashin' to make ends meat. This time, it's for his suspension after the pandemic season.
This isn't a Pete Rose situation (who again, was betting on himself, not throwing games, but that's for another time). This was a young guy who was bored during the pandemic, and sprinkled some money legally on some games.
Rob Manfred is already a clown to begin with, minor league players get the shit end of the stick in terms of treatment and compensation, plus sports gambling is becoming normalized and legalized across the country, this situation became the perfect storm that showcased the true colors of Major League Baseball.
The question is, was Bayer in the wrong? If not, why is he being penalized for three years now?
So let's break this down. In terms of gambling, here is what Major League Rule 21 states.
1) 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 no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year.
(2) 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.
(3) Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee who places bets with illegal book makers, or agents for illegal book makers, shall be subject to such penalty as the Commissioner deems appropriate in light of the facts and circumstances of the conduct. Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee who operates or works for an illegal bookmaking business shall be subject to a minimum of a one-year suspension by the Commissioner. For purposes of this provision, an illegal bookmaker is an individual who accepts, places or handles wagers on sporting events from members of the public as part of a gaming operation that is unlawful in the jurisdiction in which the bets are accepted.
Next thing, let's check what the status was for minor league players during 2020. This is from a collection of memos via the MLB, posted on CBS, ESPN, and Bleacher Report.
MiLB's season has been canceled because of the spread of the coronavirus. It's the first time in the organization's 120-year history that it has called off a full campaign.
Many teams are including their top prospects as part of their 60-player pool, that way they can be around the club's coaches and partake in intrasquad scrimmages and the like. There's even a chance some of them are called into big-league duty before they would have been otherwise.
Hundreds of minor league baseball players were cut as Major League Baseball anticipates the cancelled the 2020 minor league season. Franchises were required to pay minor league players $400 per week through the end of May. Minor league teams have received money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act.
Now I am no lawyer, but I can read. Bayer was not an official employee during the time of gambling. He was not being paid by the A's or the team. He did not gamble illegally. So three years of suspension and no reason why or opportunity to appeal? Seems pretty rash to me. Hopefully some major outlets pick up this story, because what the MLB is doing to Bayer is flat out unacceptable.