There seem to be people who are able to argue that, since it has become apparent that there is no longer any such thing as good and bad or right or wrong, and Huey Long has become president, we ought to all just tear up all of the rules and do whatever the hell we want to do. These days, it seems, the only bad thing to do is to be poor or disabled or to piss off the president and his amoral followers. This makes the time right, then, to allow Pete Rose back into baseball and hurry up and rush his ass into the Hall of Fame. Pete the peckerhead himself has been appointed the arbiter now of the Ten Commandments, the Constitution, and Robert’s Rules of Order.
Can I call again for Fay Vincent or should I perhaps just come out and say it? Okay, then. Bullshit.
In case you missed it because you were busy worrying about the corona virus or Syria or the Iowa caucus or some other trivial pursuit, Mr. Rose has still not mellowed at age 79. Like most criminals, Rose doesn’t speak for himself. His mouthpieces said, “The time has come to recognize that Mr. Rose’s penalty has become grossly disproportionate relative to Major league Baseball’s treatment of severe wrongdoing by ownership, management, and players,” . What they were referring to was the lifetime ban from baseball that Rose agreed to in 1989 just before Commissioner Bart Giamatti died. John Dowd‘s investigation had found that Rose had bet on his team to win from 1985 to 1987 while playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds. They go on to say that what Rose did was not giving his team a competitive advantage over other teams whereas using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs and using electronic methods to steal signs for the calling of pitches certainly, or at least probably, did. Now, these days it is not as easy as it was in 1919 to make arguments about the dangers of gambling with sports. We have MLB sponsored by and really in partnership with businesses who fleece people who bet daily on the performances of players if not teams and we have legal gambling seemingly on every street corner and we even have professional sports teams right there in Las Vegas, although the Raiders barely qualify. Nevertheless, the reasons why betting was outlawed remain real and valid. Some people, perhaps Rose included, become addicted. Some gamble foolishly and often and fall into debt. When betting was illegal, the schemes were operated by people who used often harsh methods to collect their debts. If boxers and other athletes could be tempted or coerced into losing on purpose, the credibility of the game and the integrity of its results were irreparably damaged. So, what Rose is saying is equivalent to the little schoolboy yelling, “Teacher, teacher, Johnny cheated on his test so it’s okay that I stole Annie’s lunch money!”
I will admit to some bias. Pete Rose is a generally disgusting character who took out Ray Fosse in an exhibition game and that irritated me immensely because he was almost universally hailed as a heroic Charlie Hustle for doing so. For a long time I fantasized being the catcher at home plate with him rounding third and saying,”Come get me.” That was not a good fantasy and chances are he would have knocked me up into the cheap seats as well. And what Carlos Beltran and Alex Cora and the others participated in was dead wrong. What the admitted steroid users like Mark McGwire and the not admitted ones like Barry Bonds did was also wrong. However, I hold out hope that one day most of them will apologize and come clean. With Rose, it doesn’t look like he will ever have remorse. So stay away Pete. Meanwhile, welcome back, Dusty Baker.