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The Margin: World Series: What set ‘Mattress Mack’ off against ‘worst fans ever’ in Philly


““I was told they are the worst fans ever. I expected the best, and I got the worst.” ”

That was Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the Houston furniture-store owner and Major League gambler, talking to a Texas news outlet about the viral video that shows him cursing out some rival Philadelphia Phillies fans following Game 3 of the 2022 World Series.

Earlier on Tuesday, McIngvale had tweeted out a post saying that Philadelphia, aka the “City of Brotherly Love,” had earned its name by being so welcoming. So what set “Mattress Mack” off after Game 3 — besides the fact that the Astros lost, and he’s got $10 million in various wagers riding on the Astros to take the Series, which could pay him around $75 million in total?

McIngvale, 71, told local news station KHOU-TV that a man he described as a “drunk guy” began heckling him about the Astros sign-stealing scandal on Tuesday night.

A refresher: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred investigated and punished the Houston Astros for using electronics to steal signs during its run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were fined $5 million and forfeited their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks. And players Alex Bregman and José Altuve apologized on behalf of the team, although Altuve has denied allegations that he personally cheated.

McIngvale said the verbal altercation caught on video began when some Phillies fans began insulting Altuve, in particular. “When they said ‘Altuve’s a f—king cheater, he’ll never make the Hall of Fame,’ that sent me over the edge,” he said. “I stand up for Houston when they’re right, and I stand up for Jose Altuve. Jose is one of the greatest Astros of all time, he’s a great person and a great ambassador for Houston.”

The Astros had McInvale’s back, as well, tweeting, “Don’t mess with Mack” after the team beat the Phillies with a no-hitter during Game 4 on Wednesday night to tie the World Series.

To which McInvale tweeted back, “No! Don’t mess with the Houston Astros!”

McIngvale was not immediately available for comment. But he also shared a statement with local outlet KPRC 2 that said, “A Phillies fan was heckling Mack the whole game and followed him out to the concourse at the end of the game. The fan continued to shout negative comments about the Astros, including they are a bunch of cheaters … Jose Altuve will never make the Hall of Fame … we should take off their jerseys to see if they are wearing buzzers. Mack had enough of the negative comments and responded to the heckler.”

“Mattress Mack” has also been making headlines for putting his money where his mouth is. He has placed $10 million in bets across numerous sportsbooks that the Astros will beat the Phillies in the World Series — which, again, could pay out an eye-watering $75 million. These wagers include $3 million placed in May with Caesars Sportsbook at 10-to-1 odds, which would pay $30 million should the Astros win the World Series. Caesars spokesman Brad Harwood told the Associated Press that this would be the largest payout on a single legal sports bet in American history, and Caesars Chief Executive Tom Reeg said in an earnings call on Tuesday that whether the business turns an adjusted profit in the fourth quarter will depend on whether the Astros win, which could see the casino operator paying $30 million to McIngvale.

Read more: Caesars’ digital betting business hits a milestone, sending sports-gambling stocks higher

Indeed, Action Network’s Darren Rovell told McIngvale that Caesars said whether it turns a fourth quarter profit will depend on whether the Astros win, which could see the casino operator paying $30 million to “Mattress Mack.”

“That would be me,” said McIngvale with a smile. “And so I hope Caesars pays out that money. We’ll see. The Astros gotta play good tonight.”

They did. The best-of-seven World Series is now tied 2-2, with the Astros and the Phillies facing off again for Game 5 on Thursday night.

McIngvale has also bet $2 million on the Astros winning the Series with BetMGM; $2 million with Barstool Sports; and $1 million each with Wynn, Unibet and Betfred.

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