Ex-minor leaguer Peter Bayer contends MLB is unfairly punishing him for betting on baseball during 2020 season

Former minor league pitcher Peter Bayer has spent his life loving the sport of baseball.

And now all he desires is to be welcomed again into the game.

Bayer finds himself in a irritating scenario that intertwines the rising world of sports activities betting and the grey space surrounding it.

For the second yr in a row, Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred have positioned Bayer on the league’s Ineligible List. His crime? Placing on-line baseball bets when he was a Minor League Baseball participant in 2020. However, that yr there was no MiLB season; it was canceled because of the pandemic.


During the day off and with no contract, Breyer admitted to putting a handful of sports activities bets; MLB’s rule e book says that Bayer ought to have solely been suspended one yr.

So why is he now occurring the third yr of not with the ability to be concerned in baseball in any way?

A general view of the Draftkings Sportsbook sign in right field during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Oakland Athletics on April 8, 2022 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A normal view of the Draftkings Sportsbook register proper discipline in the course of the Major League Baseball sport between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Oakland Athletics on April 8, 2022 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)

Bayer believes it could must do with the truth that he was actively outspoken in opposition to the league and a few groups for refusing to pay or reducing again on minor league salaries. He was a important proponent in MiLB finally turning into unionized final yr, one thing MLB fought for years.

Could Manfred and baseball be utilizing Bayer for instance to others? They argue that Bayer has completed extra than simply sports activities betting by issuing a press release that features a imprecise “other misconduct” declare.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball continues huge partnerships value upwards of lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} with on-line sportsbooks.

In an interview with OutKick, Bayer defined his irritating scenario that will function a warning to different athletes, maybe at his personal expense.


In 2020, Peter Bayer was an aspiring minor league baseball participant who was signed with the Oakland Athletics High-A workforce. It regarded like Bayer was on monitor to be promoted to Double-A that season.

However, there by no means was a season that yr due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns. Major League Baseball finally had a shortened season that started on July 23 for a complete of 60 video games, after which playoffs. Minor League Baseball by no means performed.

Bayer says that when Minor League Baseball canceled the season, all of the gamers acquired letters that their contracts had been suspended.


Not solely had been all MiLB contracts suspended in March of 2020, however the Athletics had been one of some groups that introduced that they wouldn’t be paying their minor league gamers after May 31.

“Unfortunately, considering all of the circumstances affecting the organization at this time, we have decided not to continue your $400 weekly stipend beyond May 31,” learn an e mail despatched by GM David Forst on the time. “This was a difficult decision and it’s one that comes at a time when a number of our full-time employees are also finding themselves either furloughed or facing a reduction in salary for the remainder of the season. For all of this, I am sorry.”

Bayer was a participant who actively spoke out in opposition to this.

(Just just a few weeks later, Athletics proprietor John Fisher modified his place and agreed to pay minor leaguers after a public outcry – together with from gamers like Bayer. Fisher is value an estimated $2.2 billion.)


Gamblers flow into Caesars Sports Book at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino to watch and bet on the Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League's Super Bowl LVII (which is taking place in Glendale, Arizona) as viewed on February 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gamblers circulate into Caesars Sports Book at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino to look at and wager on the Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles within the National Football League’s Super Bowl LVII (which is happening in Glendale, Arizona) as considered on February 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (George Rose/Getty Images)

A 2020 Sports Illustrated story documented Bayer having to select up a number of jobs, together with being a DoorDash supply driver simply to try to get some further revenue. He estimated that in 2019 he made about $1,500 earlier than taxes taking part in a complete season in High-A.

It’s vital to notice that in this time, Bayer and gamers had been gathering state unemployment as a result of they didn’t have a contract. He additionally wasn’t receiving well being advantages from the league. He was by all appearances laid off or furloughed.

“We got an email from MLB saying all Minor League contracts were suspended. So I figured I could bet on some baseball on FanDuel and DraftKings.” He says that he wager on about 30-40 completely different baseball video games all through July and August. (MLB formally began their shortened season in July).

He resides in Colorado, which formally opened on-line sports activities betting on May 1, 2020.

In October, the Athletics formally launched Bayer as a part of the anticipated Covid-related restructuring.

The Cincinnati Reds signed Bayer just some months later in January of 2021 however he quickly was contacted by MLB that he could be beneath investigation for his sports activities betting.

Bayer believes that as a result of he was basically an everyday citizen – with no contract, no advantages and no job, that he shouldn’t proceed to be punished for his sports activities bets, greater than what MLB’s rule states.


A couple of weeks after the Reds signed Bayer, the Colorado Gaming Commission “flagged” Bayer’s title and knowledgeable Major League Baseball of his prior betting exercise from the summer time earlier than that resulted in August. MLB and the Commissioner’s workplace knowledgeable Bayer that he was beneath investigation.

They first positioned him on a “Restricted / Investigative List,” which prevented him from signing or being part of any MLB group in 2021. He was in a position to reapply after the following World Series that yr.

MLB then positioned him on the “Ineligible List,” which as soon as once more wouldn’t let him be part of baseball in any capability for the 2022 season.

Then, three weeks in the past, Commissioner Manfred as soon as once more put him on the Ineligible List, totaling 3 seasons that Bayer hasn’t been allowed to play baseball.


Under MLB’s personal guidelines, it seems that Bayer ought to have been solely positioned on the ineligible checklist for one yr, not the two-plus that’s already occurring.

‘In Rule 21 (D), MLB states that:

“Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon
any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared
ineligible for one year.”


MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 24, 2022 in Cooperstown, New York.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks in the course of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 24, 2022 in Cooperstown, New York. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In a press release, MLB and the Commissioner’s Office stated, “After a thorough investigation, it was determined that Mr. Bayer repeatedly bet on baseball in violation of Major League Rule 21 and MLB’s policy on sports betting and engaged in other misconduct that was not in the best interest of baseball. Therefore, he was placed on the ineligible list, where he remains.”

The “in other misconduct,” half is attention-grabbing.

OutKick has reviewed a letter first obtained by The Athletic despatched to Bayer from Commissioner Manfred on April 11, 2022, that alleged that along with the sports activities betting allegations, Bayer threatened a state gaming regulator that he would “take this to the media,” in addition to allegedly denied making bets to an MLB govt. Bayer admitted to OutKick that he did write an e mail to the regulator insinuating that he would escalate the scenario by bringing it to the press, however denied he was threatening him. He additionally says that he by no means lied to the MLB Executive – in truth he says he did the other. Bayer stated that he admitted to the Executive in an e mail that he had wager throughout that suspended season and apologized for “making a mistake.”

After receiving MLB’s April 11 letter, Bayer and his legal professional met with Major League Baseball a number of occasions by way of Zoom to make clear a number of the alleged infractions. Bayer stated that concerning the sports activities betting scenario, MLB didn’t confide in him and his legal professional info concerning their wager claims [MLB claims Bayer wagered 100’s of bets, which Bayer denies. There also is a dispute over how much was wagered. Bayer and his attorney asked MLB to provide this evidence, which they never did.]

Interestingly, when the Commissioner lastly launched the official Ineligible ruling for Bayer two weeks afterward April 25, it didn’t point out any of the person expenses, however fairly made it the extra imprecise and broad “other misconduct.”

That’s what Bayer has a problem with. He believes that “other misconduct” is now primarily based round MLB attempting to make an instance of him due to his vocal criticism attempting to get MiLB gamers extra rights, and finally a union. OutKick reached out to MLB a number of occasions however didn’t obtain a response.


“I was on the forefront, on the front lines of all of that stuff [more player’s rights] for years. I was working with MiLB advocates who were able to eventually get the MLBPA to help represent MiLB athletes by the Players Association,” Bayer informed OutKick.

And it labored. After Bayer and others started getting extra consideration for calling out MLB, the league raised minor league wages in 2021, with Class A gamers getting almost a $200 weekly elevate.

In 2022, Major League Baseball’s Players Association formally unionized Minor League Baseball gamers, which is precisely what Bayer had fought for.

He says he’s now paying the worth by not being allowed again in baseball, regardless of having served the official rule e book’s punishment.

“What I did possibly gave them a reason to say ‘We’ve had enough of this guy…’ because honestly they are able to do whatever they want,” Bayer stated.



Bayer stated he fully understands and didn’t have a problem with the one-year suspension. “I told them that if this was what the clause said that I would serve the one-year suspension, similar to what happened to [NFL player] Calvin Ridley.”

He additionally admitted to being at fault for not clearly understanding what the weird, once-in-a-lifetime situation of MiLB canceling a complete season totally meant.

“But they now won’t let me back into the game,” Bayer defined.

He’s now preventing for his status and to in some way be allowed again into the game in some capability, even when not being an lively participant.

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