Rethinking Barstool?

donutogre

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Putting aside "puritanical" concerns, I do not like the idea of a sports league closely aligning its interests with a gambling concern. I suppose that makes me old-fashioned, but I'd prefer to see some sort of wall between such things. Of course, MLB and its associated entities are already accepting money from these companies in terms of ads, etc, so the ship has probably sailed.

I'm also grossed out by the idea of MLB officially partnering with Barstool on anything.

View: https://twitter.com/craigcalcaterra/status/1424793860874674180


"Hi, I'm Rob Manfred, commissioner of a league that has had to conduct multiple investigations into sexual abuse and misogyny this year and I would not like to announce our partnership with Barstool"
 

Melrose Diner

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There is little doubt that gambling is the easiest (though not the best) way to get more people following MLB. "Fixing" (no pun intended) the game to get more people watching is hard, but giving yourself over to the gambling powers and letting them encourage people to watch by allowing betting on a pitch-by-pitch basis is easy. Of course, you'll harm thousands of people -- mostly young men -- by making them gambling addicts, but since MLB isn't the one actually providing the gambling functionality, they'll claim ignorance.
Right, because in the current sports + gambling climate THIS is what's going to expose so many people to gambling. It's absolutely never been advertised or mentioned before, nope.
 

nattysez

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Would you suggest Budweiser is harming thousands of people - mostly young men - by making them alcohol addicts? Because MLB isn't the one actually providing the alcohol,, they can claim ignorance there too. Cool. Oh wait, they serve alcohol at games, just minting alcoholics by the thousands every season. Will the abuse never end?

Puritanism is certainly not the answer.
Many, many people have made that argument about the relationship between alcohol abuse and sports advertising in the past. I'm not sure it's an evidence-free argument.

Writing off all concerns about Internet-based gambling as "Puritanism" is laughable. If you don't understand how addictive app-based gambling is, I don't know what to tell you.
 

nattysez

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Right, because in the current sports + gambling climate THIS is what's going to expose so many people to gambling. It's absolutely never been advertised or mentioned before, nope.
Why is Barstool interested in spending millions to be able to broadcast baseball games if not to greatly expand the number of people interested in gambling on baseball? Do you think Barstool is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts? Did you even read the article?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Many, many people have made that argument about the relationship between alcohol abuse and sports advertising in the past. I'm not sure it's an evidence-free argument.

Writing off all concerns about Internet-based gambling as "Puritanism" is laughable. If you don't understand how addictive app-based gambling is, I don't know what to tell you.
Also no one has been kept out of the Hall of Fame for alcoholism. There are no signs in the clubhouse explicitly telling the players about not drinking. Finally, alcoholism is not detrimental to the fabric of the came.

If a guy shows up on the playing field drunk, that’s bad. But it doesn’t call into question the legitimacy of the sport.
 

johnmd20

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Why is Barstool interested in spending millions to be able to broadcast baseball games if not to greatly expand the number of people interested in gambling on baseball? Do you think Barstool is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts? Did you even read the article?
Why does any business operate in the markets they do?

What is your actual argument here?
 

johnmd20

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Also no one has been kept out of the Hall of Fame for alcoholism. There are no signs in the clubhouse explicitly telling the players about not drinking. Finally, alcoholism is not detrimental to the fabric of the came.

If a guy shows up on the playing field drunk, that’s bad. But it doesn’t call into question the legitimacy of the sport.
As far as I know, people gambling on sporting events in apps aren't eligible for the Hall of Fame.
 

JCizzle

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Red(s)HawksFan

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The gambling aspect is the least concerning thing about this, IMO. All sports broadcasting is starting to lean into the gambling aspects. ESPN and Fox Sports list odds and gambling lines on their ticker now. NESN airs a three hour morning show every day that is entirely focused on sports gambling. That horse is out of the barn. MLB could team up with plenty of entities that could incorporate in-game gambling into their broadcasts that wouldn't be 1% as problematic as associating with Barstool Sports.

This is ESPN hiring Rush Limbaugh to sit on their NFL pre-game show (or when they ever so briefly had a Barstool-related show). Everyone sees the trouble coming but them. And they'll be apologizing for the partnership, if not outright ending it within a year, acting shocked and appalled at something Portnoy or some other BS shit-weasel says or does.

Clearly they're trying to tap into a more youthful market. They're just (blindly?) getting in bed with one of the more toxic outlets to do so.
 

johnmd20

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Would you admit that there's a mixed message being sent? Pete Rose? No. Shoeless Joe Jackson? No. Online gambling? Back up the Brinks truck, boys.
No, I do not think it's even remotely confusing.

Gambling has been legal in Vegas for decades. People have been gambling on baseball for literally one hundred years. The players should NOT wager on their sport, obviously. But I do not think it's weird the sports leagues are seeing new potential revenue streams in gambling and acting in kind. And I don't think the leagues doing this all of a sudden means a tacit endorsement of players wagering on their own games.

To go back to alcohol. It's certainly legal, but it sure would be odd to see a LF running out to his position with a bottle of Patron. Just like it would be crazy for a player to bet on their own games.
 

Doc Zero

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The gambling aspect is the least concerning thing about this, IMO. All sports broadcasting is starting to lean into the gambling aspects. ESPN and Fox Sports list odds and gambling lines on their ticker now. NESN airs a three hour morning show every day that is entirely focused on sports gambling. That horse is out of the barn. MLB could team up with plenty of entities that could incorporate in-game gambling into their broadcasts that wouldn't be 1% as problematic as associating with Barstool Sports.

This is ESPN hiring Rush Limbaugh to sit on their NFL pre-game show (or when they ever so briefly had a Barstool-related show). Everyone sees the trouble coming but them. And they'll be apologizing for the partnership, if not outright ending it within a year, acting shocked and appalled at something Portnoy or some other BS shit-weasel says or does.

Clearly they're trying to tap into a more youthful market. They're just (blindly?) getting in bed with one of the more toxic outlets to do so.
Yeah.

Hannah Keyser's take on Barstool from last year basically sums it up for me.

View: https://twitter.com/HannahRKeyser/status/1277937155583758338


@HannahRKeyser

Apparently I missed some Discourse but: The problem with Barstool isn’t just that it’s a cesspool of racism and misogyny, it’s that popular people/brands promote it, proving that talking about sports is still one of the best ways to launder bigotry into the mainstream culture.
 

Seels

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I actually don't give a shit about the gambling really.

I do care that it carries a message of Manfred being continually tonedeaf. I don't think everyone at Barstool is terrible, but it doesn't matter -- Portnoy is and he's the most visible member of them. Doing this is tacitly ignoring or agreeing with all of his racist mysoginistic and anti-union luggage. You don't get Barstool without Portnoy, and I just can't get behind an endorsement of that company, regardless of if it brings new fans to the sport.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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No, I do not think it's even remotely confusing.

Gambling has been legal in Vegas for decades. People have been gambling on baseball for literally one hundred years. The players should NOT wager on their sport, obviously. But I do not think it's weird the sports leagues are seeing new potential revenue streams in gambling and acting in kind. And I don't think the leagues doing this all of a sudden means a tacit endorsement of players wagering on their own games.

To go back to alcohol. It's certainly legal, but it sure would be odd to see a LF running out to his position with a bottle of Patron. Just like it would be crazy for a player to bet on their own games.
Right. I'm not saying that gambling hasn't been a thing since the beginning of baseball. That's not the point. And I'm not saying that MLB is saying that it's okay for their players to bet on baseball games. The point is that since 1920, MLB has maintained a very clear mandate that players, team officials, umpires, league officials, etc. stay away from gambling and gambling-related endeavors. They have banned greats (Rose and Jackson) from the Hall of Fame because of their part in gambling scandals. Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were both banned from MLB events in the 1970s and 80s because they were hired as greeters for Las Vegas casinos.

So yes, MLB has had a 100+ year stance of "gambling is pretty fucking bad, actually". And now they don't. Why? What changed? Does this mean that they're going to do a 180 on Rose and Jackson? And if not, why not?

And to the bolded, players do bet on their games. It's probably not as uncommon as you think, but when they get busted they get (got?) the book thrown at them. It is (was?) a really big deal. To say that it's not, IDK what to tell you. It's been baseball's (and sports in general) thing forever.
 

Ed Hillel

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Really looking forward to Portnoy whining on Tucker about Cancel Culture after Barstool does something horrible and sponsors force MLB to push them out.

What a dumb partnership.
 

johnmd20

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So yes, MLB has had a 100+ year stance of "gambling is pretty fucking bad, actually". And now they don't. Why? What changed? Does this mean that they're going to do a 180 on Rose and Jackson? And if not, why not?

And to the bolded, players do bet on their games. It's probably not as uncommon as you think, but when they get busted they get (got?) the book thrown at them. It is (was?) a really big deal. To say that it's not, IDK what to tell you. It's been baseball's (and sports in general) thing forever.
Black people weren't allowed to play for decades. And then that changed. The Playoffs used to be two teams who finished first who would play for the World Series. And then that changed. Colorado used to not have a team. And then that changed.

Things change. Everything changes. That is what changed. What is the reason? Money, that's the reason. That is usually the reason. The playoff expansion was for money. The team expansion was for money. And getting closer to gambling is also for the money.

And I really do not agree with you that the players bet on games. Yes, Rose did. And Jackson didn't even agree to participate in the scandal. That is two (1.5?) people in 120 years. I would not say that is common.
 

dirtynine

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I find Barstool irredeemably gross, but the sadder thing then who they are is (similar to Trump) how many normal people and institutions just shrug and get into bed with them.

edit - to be clear, I'm not really talking about content consumers. It's not for me, but that's a personal choice. I'm talking about the talented people who (presumably) hold their nose and work there and the corporate partners they have.
 
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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Black people weren't allowed to play for decades. And then that changed. The Playoffs used to be two teams who finished first who would play for the World Series. And then that changed. Colorado used to not have a team. And then that changed.

Things change. Everything changes. That is what changed. What is the reason? Money, that's the reason. That is usually the reason. The playoff expansion was for money. The team expansion was for money. And getting closer to gambling is also for the money.

And I really do not agree with you that the players bet on games. Yes, Rose did. And Jackson didn't even agree to participate in the scandal. That is two (1.5?) people in 120 years. I would not say that is common.
Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Denny McClain, not to mention the rest of the Eight Men Out White Sox (and Jackson definitely knew what he was doing -- he was the only one who got paid) were also players that know of at the top of my head and there are more, I just don't have the time to Google them for you.

And integration as the same thing as partnering with a betting site? Okay. I think I'm done in this conversation right now.
 

Soxy

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I find Barstool irredeemably gross, but the sadder thing then who they are is (similar to Trump) how many normal people and institutions just shrug and get into bed with them.
A Barstool sponsorship pretty much guarantees sales. It has forced my hand multiple times in my line of work (alcoholic drinks). I've had more than one occasion when someone was presenting a new item to me and I'm probably leaning towards taking a pass. Then they mention a partnership/sponsorship with Barstool and I end up going: "sigh.....guess I need to bring it in then." Nowadays they usually just lead off with the Barstool part and skip the foreplay.

Barstool = money, so everything else just gets brushed aside. Over and over and over again. Mind you, I am just as complicit as anyone else in this. I could try to hide behind my job and act like my hand is forced, which isn't necessarily untrue. I work for a large company with many bosses, so push would come to shove sooner or later. But the truth is that I always take the path of least resistance, knowing I'm eventually going to have to bring in whatever stupid thing they're presenting at some point in the future anyways, because it's almost certain to find some degree of success in the marketplace. I'll say a few curse words under my breath but I'm usually not left with much choice. If it's tied to Barstool, there's already a baked-in group of idiots that is going to buy it regardless. It could be a mason jar filled with urine called "Bottled Urine" and they would still buy it in droves while laughing to each other about how funny they think it is.

Many businesses have calculated that any negative backlash they might receive is worth it compared to the potential financial gains that come with aligning your brand with Barstool. In my experience, that viewpoint has proven to be accurate. It's a sad state of affairs with a multitude of reasons for how we ended up here, but there you go. I'm not necessarily saying anything groundbreaking that you don't already know, but it is a little more complicated than just shrugging and getting into bed with them. Barstool was allowed to fester and grow to such a point that many businesses now feel they have no choice but to get on board with them. If they don't, a competitor will. Stop me if you've heard this story before...
 

Vinho Tinto

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Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Denny McClain, not to mention the rest of the Eight Men Out White Sox (and Jackson definitely knew what he was doing -- he was the only one who got paid) were also players that know of at the top of my head and there are more, I just don't have the time to Google them for you.

And integration as the same thing as partnering with a betting site? Okay. I think I'm done in this conversation right now.
A significant difference is that those players were involved with mobsters who were gambling underground due to sports gambling being illegal. The economics of baseball for the players has changed significantly since the dead ball era. Other parts of the world, such as the UK, have had legal and regulated sports gambling for decades. It has not led to greater issues for player integrity vs keeping it exclusive to organized criminals.
 

dirtynine

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A Barstool sponsorship pretty much guarantees sales....
---
If they don't, a competitor will. Stop me if you've heard this story before...
I really appreciate this response - thank you for taking the time to give this perspective. It's not surprising that companies factor in the ickiness and go right up to that limit. Nobody's hands are really clean in this world - hell, I'm scared/pissed about climate change and I drive an SUV. And I'm pretty sure we all work with companies from time to time that we'd rather avoid.

It could be a mason jar filled with urine called "Bottled Urine" and they would still buy it in droves while laughing to each other about how funny they think it is.
Hey, if Coors wants to partner with Barstool, more power to them.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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A significant difference is that those players were involved with mobsters who were gambling underground due to sports gambling being illegal. The economics of baseball for the players has changed significantly since the dead ball era. Other parts of the world, such as the UK, have had legal and regulated sports gambling for decades. It has not led to greater issues for player integrity vs keeping it exclusive to organized criminals.
That is very true about the eras being different, I acknowledge that.

IDK though. It’s easy to say something won’t happen until it does. This doesn’t seem to me as a worthwhile investment for MLB as there’s a lot of potential problems that can arise. Maybe you’re right and nothing will happen but it just doesn’t feel right to me.

To me, gambling and sports should be like church and state, separated. But owners have money to make.
 

johnmd20

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That is very true about the eras being different, I acknowledge that.

IDK though. It’s easy to say something won’t happen until it does. This doesn’t seem to me as a worthwhile investment for MLB as there’s a lot of potential problems that can arise. Maybe you’re right and nothing will happen but it just doesn’t feel right to me.

To me, gambling and sports should be like church and state, separated. But owners have money to make.
But gambling and sports have been intertwined since the invention of gambling and sports.
 

Vinho Tinto

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That is very true about the eras being different, I acknowledge that.

IDK though. It’s easy to say something won’t happen until it does. This doesn’t seem to me as a worthwhile investment for MLB as there’s a lot of potential problems that can arise. Maybe you’re right and nothing will happen but it just doesn’t feel right to me.

To me, gambling and sports should be like church and state, separated. But owners have money to make.
Absolutely that it can still happen. And it’s another reminder of how large corporations really run these leagues. I just prefer not to criminalize what we know is happening regardless. I don’t think legalizing is a solution, but the current climate still produces situations like Evander Kane and Rick Tocchet being accused of being involved in illegal gambling. I do think can offer a level of transparency. I have no problem with the leagues, or even simply individual teams, keeping their current policies.
 

Soxy

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I really appreciate this response - thank you for taking the time to give this perspective. It's not surprising that companies factor in the ickiness and go right up to that limit. Nobody's hands are really clean in this world - hell, I'm scared/pissed about climate change and I drive an SUV. And I'm pretty sure we all work with companies from time to time that we'd rather avoid.
To be clear (and I probably should have been more explicit on this point), I'm merely speculating on the exact cost/benefit analysis being done by businesses. Just seems obvious to me that something like that is what's going on. Seeing how many companies partner with them, they're not possibly all just sticking their heads in the ground to these issues. They know which way the wind is blowing. Still, that doesn't seem to have negatively affected sales of High Noon, which pretty much took over White Claw as the drink of the summer this year. Doesn't seem to have negatively affected Pink Whitney, which still sells like crazy. They even slapped the Barstool logo on what is essentially a rebranded Pedialyte drink for adults (not kidding) and it's been selling great.

The Barstool brand has so much pull and draw amongst young people (generally affluent ones too, from what I've seen) that I can understand why businesses find it impossible to resist. Barstool is huge and MLB seems desperate. Like always, the answer to 99 out of 100 questions is money. I guess I'm cynical enough that this didn't really surprise me, since I've seen it firsthand from a bunch of different companies in my own business world. Companies will look the other way to a lot of hideous stuff when it pays well to do so. Shocking, I know.
 

donutogre

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Media Matters has the receipts on what most of us already know: Barstool is a cesspool:
https://www.mediamatters.org/barstool-sports/barstool-sports-cesspool-misogyny-and-bigotry

This piece breaks things down by category, including "sexualizing minors and whitewashing nonconsensual explicit content," "perpetuating and encouraging sexism and misogyny," "perpetuating and encouraging racism," and on down the line. Seeing it all laid out in black and white here makes it extremely clear that MLB should have nothing to do with them.
 

Patriot_Reign

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Media Matters has the receipts on what most of us already know: Barstool is a cesspool:
https://www.mediamatters.org/barstool-sports/barstool-sports-cesspool-misogyny-and-bigotry

This piece breaks things down by category, including "sexualizing minors and whitewashing nonconsensual explicit content," "perpetuating and encouraging sexism and misogyny," "perpetuating and encouraging racism," and on down the line. Seeing it all laid out in black and white here makes it extremely clear that MLB should have nothing to do with them.
A total of six words in and his appearances on Fox News are mentioned.

Agenda located.
 

donutogre

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A total of six words in and his appearances on Fox News are mentioned.

Agenda located.
Would love to hear more about how the fact they mention Fox News invalidates the rest of the things mentioned. Exactly how does it make the mountain of shitty things Barstool and its founder have done any less apparent and awful?