This story from Sports Illustrated is probably the craziest story you’ll read this week. It’s about how a sports handicapper and a childhood friend of Jeff Locke’s tried to make it seem like he and Locke were intentionally fixing games. This was all during the early part of Locke’s career in 2012, when his results were pretty horrible. In short, the handicapper was accurately guessing that Locke would have a bad outing, or would lose a good outing the second time through the lineup.
There’s no way to do the story justice, other than to just read it. However, I’ll add a few summary points, just because the story is written in a way where you think Locke might have actually played a part in this. Only at the end of this long article do they actually clarify that Locke never knew about this at all. That’s not the best approach to take on a subject like this, especially when most people start skimming the article after the beginning, and could possibly miss that key part. Thus, I felt I should point out that Locke was not actually throwing games, in case you were confused by that.
**The handicapper, Kris Barr, tried contacting Locke over Facebook in 2011. His brother, Don, also tried contacting Locke, who eventually responded saying that the two only wanted to be Locke’s friend because he played for the Pirates. This started a grudge where Kris vowed to bet against Locke every time.
**Locke was in the majors in 2011 and 2012 at the end of each season. He was pretty bad in those stretches, and the Pirates were also bad. Since there was no interest in Pirates games, Barr decided to start telling people that he and Locke were conspiring to fix games.
**Eventually, people started believing this might be true, especially after Barr was accurately predicting that Locke would blow up in the fifth inning of a September 16th game against the Cubs in 2012.
**There was an investigation, which seemed to be run by the real life Jack Bauer, with no regard for the law, and it turned up that this was all a hoax that Locke had no part of.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.