Gambler who threatened to kill a Padres player in 2019 pleads guilty

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Covering Major League Baseball is usually about trade speculation, roster moves and delving into the daily news that surrounds an organization. But every so often there’s a story that really unnerves you – and this is one such instance.

Two years ago, Benjamin Tucker Patz, a Napa, CA man threatened to kill several professional athletes, including an unidentified San Diego Padres player. Others threatened included players from the Braves, Athletics, Indians, Orioles and Royals – as well as the Swedish women’s soccer team, according to NBC 7 San Diego.

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The threats were violent and sometimes included racial or derogatory slurs, according to court documents.

"On July 29 (2019), one of the San Diego Padres received a DM on Instagram from @applesnsfufd that stated, “I will behead your family.” At approximately the same time, the player’s wife received a pair of messages stating “I will cut open your husband with a dull knife” and “I will sever you and him open.”"

These weren’t isolated incidents, either. Patz had a pretty lengthy history of sending threatening messages to athletes, usually when he placed wagers on their respective teams and came out on the wrong side of those bets.

This week, he plead guilty in Tampa court and now faces up to five years imprisonment – related specifically to threats he made against four Rays players.

Padres player remains unidentified; Patz’s actions are deplorable

Being passionate about sports is one thing. This is something altogether different.

No matter what’s at stake – a World Series title, a Super Bowl ring or any other type of championship or record. Nobody, professional athlete or otherwise, ever deserves this type of harassment. Unfortunately, this case shows us that it does happen – and it’s something that I’m sure most fans don’t realize or even think about players having to deal with on top of performing on the field.

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Thankfully, Katz looks like he’s headed for prison. There’s just no place in society for this type of behavior, no matter how invested you are in a team or sport.