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Rovell: MLB’s Lazy Home Run Derby Rules are Unacceptable for Sportsbooks & Bettors

Rovell: MLB’s Lazy Home Run Derby Rules are Unacceptable for Sportsbooks & Bettors article feature image
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Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Juan Soto, Kyle Schwaber, Pete Alonso, Corey Seager

If Major League Baseball is going to take money from sportsbooks and its commissioner is going to talk about how gambling will help the game, what happened on Monday night was unacceptable.

The Home Run Derby may be good, clean fun to some, but millions of dollars are also bet on it. Caesars told Action Network more money was bet on the Home Run Derby Monday night than the actual All-Star Game itself. PointsBet said as much money is bet on the Derby as all the events on NBA All-Star Saturday Night (Dunk, 3-Point and Skills).

With that in mind, how does what happened actually happen? Balls being thrown after the buzzer and those home runs being counted for several hitters.

I demand a refund from @FDSportsbook @fanduel as they counted a home run pitch to Pujols when the click was zero and the pitch wasn’t even get thrown yet and THEN it was still allowed to be counted as a home run

Fix my bets immediately @fanduel and void them

H/t @MatthewVanis pic.twitter.com/dSSqLiYREA

— Gunz (@TheGunzShow) July 19, 2022

And the most egregious error: ESPN appeared to miscount totals between Kyle Schwarber and Albert Pujols. Not only was Pujols given extra time to get off his 13th homer in the first round, but ESPN miscounted Schwarber’s total by one in extra time. Pujols advanced, winning…by one. Schwarber, unaware his total had been miscounted, just embraced the story of losing to Pujols, bowing to and hugging him

Imagine being the bettor at Caesars who bet $54,000 to net $15,000 that Schwarber would advance?

It happened throughout the night and all the way to the end, as it unfolded in embarrassing fashion. Before getting his extra minute in the last round against Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto’s final home run should not have counted. The buzzer sounded and the clock hit zero before the pitch was released.

Soto incorrectly motioned to count it, ESPN’s Eduardo Perez incorrectly said it was released — with no care for a replay — and count it they did

Soon after, the camera panned away to Rodriguez, shaking his head, seemingly questioning the credibility of the last homer.

It would be one thing if this was a first time thing for baseball. But it’s not. Last year, the same exact thing happened.

Last year, they counted a Trey Mancini home run after the buzzer and he beat Matt Olson…by one. Everyone who bet Olson lost. Meanwhile, a home run hit by Joey Gallo was not counted after the buzzer.

The issue? This is not a hard thing to get right! The only way you get it wrong is if you simply don’t care. And considering millions of dollars are bet on this, and baseball makes even more from its connection to gambling, baseball can’t have it both ways.

If the league is going to cash in on legal sports betting, it’s time to get it right — for the fans, the gamblers and the players.

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