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By Murray Chass

February 18, 2018

Lest there be any doubt that Major League Baseball has joined the National Basketball Association in a revolutionary effort to create legal gambling on sports events, check the statement baseball issued last week regarding proposed West Virginia legislation:

“Any sports betting legislation must include clear, robust and enforceable protections to mitigate any possible risks to our game. The law quickly advancing in West Virginia unfortunately falls short of meeting those critical standards. We are hopeful the legislature will complete a significant overhaul of the law and bolster the protections. We would be happy to work with legislators and the Lottery Commission to improve the current language.”

MLB’s position is somewhat curious. Several weeks ago, when the NBA stepped in front on the gambling issue, urging passage of a New York State law on legal betting, MLB was silent. Now, however, not only has MLB become openly aggressive on the issue, it has clearly joined the NBA in leading the charge up the 1 percent hill.

The NBA was the first league to come out for legalized gambling on its games, proposing a 1 percent share of gambling revenue.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a baseball official said MLB “has stood with the NBA on the 1 percent fee from the very beginning as states have taken various steps on the issue of sports betting. That aspect is not a new development.”

If you listen to critics of the 1 percent plan, on the other hand, you might find …

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By Murray Chass

February 11, 2018

The memory is vivid. In the time between the 1985 and ’86 seasons – the 10th season of free agency – any time I mentioned collusion Barry Rona laughed. Rona was the owners’ chief labor executive, and the laughter was his way of scoffing at the idea that the clubs were colluding against free agents.

I don’t recall when Rona stopped laughing, but the owners stopped conspiring after the 1987 season, the third of their illegitimate practice. They stopped only because they were caught by two arbitrators and negotiated an expensive plea agreement under which they paid the players $280 million plus interest.

How vile were the owners in conducting their conspiracy? They initiated it only weeks after …

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By Murray Chass

January 28, 2018

In a period running less than three months in the second half of last year, two and a half professional sports teams were sold for these astounding amounts: Miami Marlins $1.2 billion, Houston Rockets $2.2 billion and 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets, valuing the team at $2.3 billion.

Those are b’s, not m’s, and they require extra zeros. Coupled with current events, they prompted an e-mail from Fay Vincent, the former baseball, who obviously is paying closer attention that most others, including a newspaper sports editor, who he mentioned but I have intentionally omitted.

“How can gambling be so important,” Vincent wrote, “that it is seriously affecting the prices being paid for sports franchises and yet so little is being written about what is going to have to be done to establish the new context for all sports in this country? How can the media not be at least trying to spell out the effects of an economic revolution that is about …

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