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Fantasy players’ dose of reality: Lawsuit against Astros, Red Sox and MLB dismissed

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven
Houston players Cameron Maybin and George Springer celebrate after the Astros defeated the Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

A New York judge Friday essentially issued a three-word, time-honored ruling to fantasy sports bettors: “You’re outta here!”

The bettors had sued the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball, arguing they were duped in what U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff called “the by-now infamous sign-stealing scandal.”

Rakoff dismissed the suit, ruling that the argument was so flawed the bettors should not be allowed another chance to make a better argument.

The bettors essentially claimed they would not have made daily fantasy bets — in what the league promoted as a “game of skill” — had they known the Astros and Red Sox were cheating.

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Former Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch reportedly will fulfill their suspensions even if no games are played this season.

An MLB investigation found the Astros had illegally deployed technology — and trash cans — in a sign-stealing scheme in 2017 and 2018 and noted that the Red Sox had been sanctioned for improperly using an Apple watch in 2017. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said his investigation into whether the Red Sox cheated beyond then is “done” but has not yet issued a report.

Rakoff essentially ruled the bettors had done business with DraftKings, not with MLB or individual teams, and that the link was too weak between the bettors and the league and its teams.

“The connection between the alleged harm plaintiffs suffered and defendants’ conduct is simply too attenuated to support any of plaintiffs’ claims for relief,” Rakoff wrote. “While the verbose, rhetorical and largely conclusory complaint does manage to plausibly allege a few misrepresentations by defendants, these statements, which are unrelated to fantasy baseball, do not plausibly support plaintiffs’ claims.”

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The Astros still face at least two other lawsuits related to their cheating: one filed by pitcher Mike Bolsinger, the other by their own fans.


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