Blackmon, the Colorado Rockies’ four-time All-Star right-fielder known as “Chuck Nazty,” joined MaximBet, a self-styled “lifestyle sports betting and online casino brand,” it was announced Wednesday.
That’s fine with Rose, MLB’s all-time leader with 4,256 hits who was banned from baseball for gambling on the sport. But the man nicknamed “Charlie Hustle” believes that, given the current climate in which major sports teams and their players can be associated with legal gambling, MLB should cut him some slack.
“When you’re suspended from something in America for almost 35 years, that’s a long, long time,” Rose, now 81, said when reached Tuesday by phone at the airport in Las Vegas. “Some guys don’t get that when they kill people.”
Rose has been suspended from baseball since 1989 for betting on the game as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. It has rendered him ineligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame ever since. He still maintains to this day he only bet on his own Reds to win.
“I have no problem with what Charlie’s doing,” Rose said. “There’s nothing illegal in that, is there? It’s just the perception, like when I was caught. I just came along at the wrong time. I made a mistake, and I paid for it. I bet on my own team to win. If I was around today nobody would think anything of it.”
To be sure, Blackmon, like any active player, can endorse a betting company, but he can’t bet on the game under MLB Rule 21, the same regulation that ensnared Rose.
The rule states in part that “any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game … shall be declared ineligible for one year.“
Rose was suspended for a year in 1989 by late commissioner Bart Giamatti, who died shortly thereafter. Since then, Rose’s punishment has remained in place through three other commissioners.
Blackmon is a different story. He will be featured by MaximBet in upcoming marketing campaigns, fan events, promotions and social media content, the company said in its release. Blackmon said he liked the local associations the company has built in Colorado, where Blackmon has played during his entire 12-year MLB career.
“As I learned more about MaximBet, I knew this absolutely was the right brand for me,” Blackmon said in the release. “MaximBet has really attached itself to the local Colorado community, and I cannot wait to have some fun with MaximBet and surprising fans with incredible ‘money can’t buy’ experiences all season.”
Rose is in the betting business, too, predicting game outcomes on a Las Vegas-based podcast that includes baseball, basketball, hockey and football. Last year he did the same for UpickTrade.com, a sports betting service out of Guadalajara, Mexico. Rose said he had a 75% success rate on baseball outcomes but is no longer associated with that company.
“I watch all the sports,” he said. “I watch three baseball games a day. I know the game. That’s why I’m so good at it. I don’t think I’m hurting anybody. I’m just giving the people who are listening the knowledge I have of the games. I watch pretty closely. I’m pretty much up to speed on everything.”
Rose still thinks he did nothing wrong. All managers should bet every day on their teams to win, he said.
“What that did for me is that I did everything in my power every night to try and win that game,” Rose said. “That’s what you try do as a manager. You try to win every game. I was wrong. But you see as the years go on, things change.”