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The relationship between major sports leagues and sports booking keeps getting closer and closer, which means new rules are necessary to police said relationship. As coverage of the game, both written and in video and in the broadcasts themselves, sees gambling and a gambler’s mindset further fused with every existing atom, adjustments need to be made in order to keep some kind of equilibrium.
So, that’s how it was discovered earlier this week that MLB and the Players Association had a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement designed to address fans who take their gambling losses and desires out on the players just trying to play baseball. MLive’s Evan Woodberry tweeted about it prior to an Astros/Tigers game, saying:
In the pregame announcement about appropriate language and fan behavior, the Astros list derogatory “betting-related speech” as a prohibited category.
I googled and found at least 2 other MLB teams that use the same phrase in their fan code of conduct.
Someone reached out to Woodberry to let them know that this was now a league-wide, CBA-mandated addition to the code of conduct:
Addendum: I was told that this language in the code of conduct is not *in spite* of the increasing ubiquity of gambling, but *because* of it. Players requested it during CBA negotiations to ensure they were insulated and protected from threats/illegal offers/derogatory behavior.
It’s already bad enough that you have fantasy baseball players on Twitter yelling into the mentions of professional baseball players, and those placing bets on the game can similarly scream about how a player screwed them out of winning big, but having to hear it at the game, too, where you can’t simply mute or block away the worst offenders, would have been a step too far. It’s good to see there was something proactive here, and that the threat of being escorted from the stadium, or not being able to attend future games, is the cost for screaming at a player about how you need them to strike out one more guy or else your wife is going to leave you after you lose another bet.
I find the ever-tightening grip that gambling has on MLB’s whole production to be pretty distasteful, and having to see it become such a central part of the viewing package is a real problem, too, but if the relationship is going to exist, the least that everyone involved can do is to protect the players who will be open to verbal abuse for not considering some dork’s parlay before they step up to the plate. And this seems like a pretty good step as far as in-stadium behaviors are concerned. There isn’t much to be done about the people who will seek out athletes on social media, though, if fantasy baseball decorum has taught us anything over the years.
Major League Baseball and some of its teams have been all about NFTs this week, which would normally be extremely depressing, but, because of the time they decided to launch these endeavors, is incredibly funny, instead. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. First, MLB’s crypto-related slate.
The league and its players, through their representative group, OneTeam, announced an “exclusive NFT game” that would “introduce a new way of interacting with baseball.” The press release is pretty light on how that would actually be accomplished, of course, and is mostly full of people saying different versions of those quoted phrases and talking up developer Sorare’s userbase size. That part doesn’t matter to us so much, though. Be patient.
The Nationals’ Twitter account shared a “Crypto 101” video on Tuesday, which is part of a deal they have with Terra, a “stablecoin” in the world of crypto. Honestly don’t worry too much if you don’t know what any of that means, you should feel blessed instead. Just know, for our purposes, that the key thing here is that the Nats got into bed with this group.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 10, 2022
And then there are the Marlins, a team very proud to announce that they now had their own Bored Ape to display, and were making a big deal out of it with a press release and an event.
All of this happened while Terra, the so-called stablecoin, was destabilizing:
UST is an algorithmic stablecoin which uses code to maintain its price at around $1 based on a complex system of minting and burning. A UST token is created by destroying some of the related cryptocurrency luna to maintain the dollar peg.
But in times of market volatility, such as this week, UST is being tested.
Its peg has been lost and now investors are rushing to dump the associated luna token. Luna’s price has plunged from around $85 a week ago to trade at around 4 cents on Thursday, according to data from Coin Metrics, making the cryptocurrency almost worthless.
The temporary solution for this big, unregulated system? Hitting pause on the whole thing from above and freezing both transactions and user funds. It’s not just Luna/Terra taking hits, either:
The chaos has been fueled by a steep slide that has seen $200 billion in value wiped out in a single day. Bitcoin alone fell to below $25,000 on the morning of May 12th, a price not seen since December 2020 and less than half of its peak in November 2021. Other cryptocurrencies have faced a similarly punishing few days, with Ethereum having lost around 20 percent of its value in just 24 hours.
You’ll have to forgive me for thinking that the timing of MLB’s big crypto-centered reveals coming at the exact moment the whole deal is suffering its most significant blows is very funny. But, as has been said on Twitter:
You're laughing. A speculative asset with no utility other than environmental destruction and who's price is driven by wash trading on unregulated exchanges and 'have fun staying poor' memes is tanking, and you're laughing
— Emoji Caresser (@LizRummy) May 12, 2022
MLB is going to dive headfirst into this whole crypto thing, which is going to undo, and then some, any of the “going green” ballpark initiatives they want to brag about in press releases but then refuse to answer followup questions about when approached by journalists just trying to write a newsletter on the subject. So, having them dive headfirst into an empty pool, faceplant into concrete, and then maybe reconsider the whole thing as they recover from it is preferable to… whatever other future we’re possibly in line for. Gambling and NFTs being introduced into MLB is simply too much nonsense occurring at the same time, and if the universe wants to pick the one that is admittedly going to create more annoying guys but not hasten the demise of the climate at the same time, well, who am I to say no?