Umpire Pat Hoberg disciplined by MLB for violating gambling rules

Pat Hoberg

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball said on Friday that it has disciplined umpire Pat Hoberg for violating the league’s policy on gambling.

The decision comes 10 days after MLB banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for life after a sportsbook told the league that he had bet on games while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It also comes after Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud charges earlier this month, The Washington Post reported.

Hoberg, 37, who has umpired full-time in the big leagues since 2017, has been held out of games this season while his appeal is being considered, The Athletic reported.

The umpire is best known for getting every ball and strike call correct during Game 2 of the 2022 World Series, according to the Post.

Hoberg has denied betting on baseball, ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources. The exact nature of Hoberg’s discipline is unclear.

“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,” MLB said in a statement. “Mr. Hoberg was removed from the field during the pendency of that investigation.

“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.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred will hear the appeal, according to ESPN.

“I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me,” Hoberg said in a statement to the cable sports network. “I look forward to the appeal process, and I am grateful that the Major League Baseball Umpires Association is supporting me in the appeal.”

Hoberg began working games professionally in 2009 and umpired his first game in the majors in 2014, according to MLB’s umpires media guide. He became a full-time umpire in 2017.

The last major American professional sports official known to bet on games was NBA referee Tim Donaghy, The Athletic reported. He pleaded guilty to sharing inside information for betting purposes and spent 15 months in prison.

MLB umpires must adhere to the same rules as major leaguers when it comes to gambling, the Post reported.

Until this month, the biggest violators were the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox,” who threw the World Series that year; and Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hit leader.

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