by John Kincade
One of the greatest parts about returning home to Philadelphia in 2021 is something that far too many people locally take for granted…freedom. No, I’m not talking about our city and it’s rich history but the freedom to wager on sporting events anytime we wish. My BetPARX App is one of my favorites. Reasonably, responsibly having the ability to gamble is very enjoyable. There are certain rules though that you should take into consideration.
One of mine would be not to bet on exhibitions. We already have seen legitimate sporting events fixed in professional sports. The NBA betting scandal hit home locally and certainly was a cautionary tale. A referee doesn’t have to actually decide a winner to affect the gambling on an event. The over/under lines were being directly affected by the decision to swallow the whistle or to get overly litigious. There are sports analysts that try to argue against sporting events being fixed as if it’s a piece of fiction. It’s not. We saw it. People went to prison because of it. Thankfully there are guardrails in place that protect that public from betting irregularities.
One thing you don’t need to be doing is wagering on events with no legitimate rules. The HR Derby is a perfect example. The sentimental favorite was Albert Pujols. Was it just me or did it seem there wasn’t a sense of urgency to “compete” and eliminate Albert Pujols? It certainly appeared one could question the pace of pitches and desire of Kyle Schwarber to get past the sentimental favorite.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when someone reads the room. It is a great talent to understand what the crowd wants and to entertain them. Fact is, I’ll never believe that the Pujols victory wasn’t a contrived feel good moment. The issue with that is that the public was able to bet on it. If we had a regular season or playoff game with irregularities, there would be outrage. We can’t have exhibitions that aren’t fair competitions in order to celebrate the career of a legend.
It’s one of the reasons I sat out betting on something like the HR Derby. I don’t bet on hot dog eating contests or anything else like it. I struggle enough figuring out what side of the fence I’m on in a legitimate sporting event without betting on exhibitions. I ask you the question, do you think that the HR Derby was fixed? Do you believe the desire to please the crowd overrode the integrity that is assumed? If we do, that’s a problem.