When a Twitter-storm erupted two weeks ago around Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart and a series of messages seemingly between him and a pair of gambling experts, two central questions quickly emerged: Were the messages legit? And did they point to anything darker than Costart putting a few bucks on college basketball games in his free time?
MLB quickly jumped in to investigate the case, and this afternoon answered both questions. Yes, the messages were legit, and no, there's no evidence the Marlins hurler ever bet on baseball — one of the cardinal sins in the game.
Instead, Cosart has been fined for placing illegal bets, MLB announced.
"The investigation did not reveal any evidence to suggest that Cosart, who fully cooperated with the investigation, bet on baseball," MLB said in a statement. "Cosart has received an undisclosed fine."
Baseball's Rule 21 — the so-called Pete Rose rule — outlines stiff penalties for betting on baseball, including a lifetime ban for betting on your own team. Betting on other sports is prohibited, but falls into another section that bans "placing bets with illegal book makers."
"This rule is strictly enforced and applies to gambling with illegal bookmakers on any sport or event," MLB says in its statement.
Cosart's gambling habits were revealed by a Twitter user named @ghostfadekillah, who posted screencaps of direct messages between Cosart's official account and gambling experts. Soon after New Times reported on the exchange, MLB confirmed it had launched an investigation.
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When New Times interviewed the man behind @ghostfadekillah, he said he'd seen no indication in the Tweets that Cosart's betting included wagers on baseball, and said he didn't believe the pitcher deserved to be punished.
Indeed, that's what MLB's own investigation turned up. Cosart issued a statement this afternoon apologizing for the "distraction" caused by the case.
"I have never, nor would I ever, bet on the great game of baseball. Major League Baseball conducted a thorough investigation, and I cooperated fully with them and their investigators throughout that process. I'm sorry for any distractions this may have caused the Marlins, my teammates, coaches, and our incredible fans. I'm glad to bring closure to this situation before Opening Day and I look forward to a great season."