You know, until I read this story, the historical weirdness of baseball — the most anti-gambling of all of the major sports — holding one of its biggest events in a casino hadn’t occurred to me. Really, it was not that long ago when Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays — Mantle and Mays! The two biggest names in post-war baseball! — were banned from the game because they took relatively unimportant P.R. jobs with an Atlantic City casino, years after they retired.
Now GM’s make deals or, even better, talk to reporters about hypothetical deals, mere steps away from a room in which those very same deals can affect the odds against their team winning the World Series. Make a big enough splash and those odds can move either before or after one of these guys places a bet on it.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Gambling is no longer the sort of danger to the game it once was, mostly because there’s way more money to be made in licensing deals and season ticket sales and other stuff then there is with the latter day Arnold Rothsteins of the world. I’m just saying it’s weird, and I can’t help but wonder what Judge Landis would think about it all.