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READY OR NOT, HERE IT COMES

By Murray Chass

May 20, 2018

Coming soon to a race track or casino near you – Major League Baseball, all tied up in a pretty big bow. It might not be as soon as you’d like but start saving your rent money. The legal bookies are waiting.

The bets you place will be courtesy of the United States Supreme Court, which in a 7-2 decision last week paved the way for all 50 states to establish legal betting on MLB, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the NCAA.

At least two of the leagues, MLB and NBA, have intensified their lobbying efforts to induce the states to create betting on their sports.

A bit of irony here. At the outset of this movement, all four leagues and the NCAA vigorously opposed the idea of legalizing sports betting, claiming it would undermine the integrity of their games.

They quickly relinquished that argument when they realized the amount of revenue that is involved. Estimates of money that is generated by gambling, mostly illegal, range from $150 billion to $400 billion annually. The estimates are not more precise because most of the money is wagered with bookmakers, who are illegal and prefer not to have the government scrutinize their work.

More irony: Legal betting comes to baseball, which banished Pete Rose 30 years ago for life for betting on baseball. The difference is ….

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SALUTING A NOT YET RETIRED ICHIRO

By Murray Chass

May 6, 2018

Barring an occasional development in which a professional athlete is caught in a Pete Rose-type scandal it is unusual for a baseball player or football player to be mentioned – certainly not prominently – on a national newscast.

One day last week, however, Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” made Ichiro Suzuki the subject of his last segment on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily.”

“Finally tonight,” Todd said, “in case you missed it, a true icon is saying he’s had enough, at least for now. Ichiro Suzuki, that magician of a hitter, is …

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RED SOX FALL SHORT OF TIGERS, MAYBE YANKS, TOO

By Murray Chass

April 30, 2018

When the Boston Red Sox won 17 of their first 20 games this season, two thoughts came to mind: the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 2018 New York Yankees. Could the Yankees, whose 20-game record was 11-9, catch up and stay even with the Red Sox, who looked awesome in those first 20 games, and could the Red Sox maintain their torrid pace long enough to match or exceed the Tigers’ even more torrid pace of the first month of the ‘84 season?

Although no other team has ever won 35 of its first 40 games, strong starts are not unusual. It’s also not unusual for teams to win a bunch of games early, then fade quickly. The ’84 Tigers, though, did not fade.

They won the first nine games, 16 of the first 17, 19 of the first 21, 26 of the first 30 and 35 of the first 40 en route to a …

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