Monday, January 05, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

Still smells dirty.

"For the last 14 years I've consistently heard the statement: 'If Pete Rose came clean, all would be forgiven.' Well, I've done what you've asked. The rest is up to the commissioner and the big umpire in the sky." - Pete Rose

Pete bares (mmmm beers) his soul in his soon to-be-released autobiography. You tell me. Is this "coming clean"?

"Mr. Selig looked at me and said, 'I want to know one thing. Did you bet on baseball?'" Rose writes. "I looked him in the eye. 'Sir, my daddy taught me two things in life -- how to play baseball and how to take responsibility for my actions. I learned the first one pretty well. The other, I've had some trouble with. Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball.'"

"How often?" Selig asked.

"Four or five times a week," Rose replied. "But I never bet against my own team, and I never made any bets from the clubhouse."

"Why?" Selig asked.

"I didn't think I'd get caught."

Now, I understand that this is only an excerpt, but does that make sense? Isn't the "Why?" asked by Selig, in the way this is represented, asking Rose why he never bet against his own team, or bet from the clubhouse? And if that's the case, how can Rose's answer in that manner? "I didn't do it because I thought I'd get away with it"? Either this passage is poorly excerpted, or Rose is still full of it, because there are only two possible explanations for Rose's answer to Selig's Why question in that sequence:

1. He doesn't understand the question, or
2. He's lying.

People seem pretty comfortable saying that Rose had, and possibly still has, an extensive gambling problem. Anyone who knows gamblers knows this: If someone with a gambling problem is down a lot of money and has inside information that can get them out of it, then they are going to use that information. And Rose has always cared about the money. From his tax fraud conviction to his decision to confess through his own book instead of through a press conference with Selig at his side, Pete has always tried to scrape together every penny he was, or wasn't, entitled to.

I 100% believe that Pete bet on the Reds, against the Reds, and made decisions to gain a positive outcome for his own investments. Can I prove that? Of course not, but my opinion is absolutely more consistent with Rose's previous behavior than any explanation he has tossed out there.

Below is another Rose entry that I wrote about the Rose Mock Trial held at Harvard Law School in July. My comments about that event are relevant to today, so I thought I would reprint that here.

Fri Jul 18, 08:32:17 AM
A Working Class Hero Is Something to Be
Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. There, I said it. Yesterday, I pointed out that I was "totally against Rose being reinstated". But now I think we should get Peter Edward Rose on the ballot and in the Hall as quickly as possible.

No, I wasn't swayed by Johnnie Cochrane's argument - although I have to say that if my best friend were Cochrane or last night's prosecuting attorney Alan Dershowitz, I'd quit my job and start robbing banks - but by the sentiment put forth by former players, the jury, and the 79% of ESPN voters who tapped the mouse in Rose's favor. Pete Rose has become something of a martyr, a hardworking kid who made good, made a mistake, and needs to be forgiven. There is a belief that there needs to be Justice for Pete Rose. People like Rose.

But what if people didn't like Rose? What if we were talking about Albert Belle, or Milton Bradley? What if he were a different color, or from another country? If Pete Rose had accomplished all of the same things in the same way, but had been a kid from San Pedro de Macoris, spoke very little English and had returned to The Dominican at the end of his career, been convicted of tax fraud and been accused of but not admitted to gambling on baseball, would there be this vast amount of support for his Hall of Fame induction?

By the way, did you see the part with Bill James? James had already been torn apart by Dershowitz, and had come across as an exposed pseudo-academic opinionated elitist in trying to defend his criticism of the Dowd Report, when Cochrane asked him this:

Cochrane: Are their any players in the Hall who had previously been ineligible?
James:Yes, there are the Negro Leaguers, and the players who got in from the Veteran's Committee.

What is the implication of that?! "Well, we let the NEGROES in, how can we keep out the gambling tax cheat?"!

Pete Rose is the hometown hero of Cincinnati Ohio, plays the People's Champion card well, and is up against Bud Selig, an easy target. Baseball is, in the end, an entertainment industry, and so if Pete Rose is who America wants, then give it to them. To me, stifling Pete and his supporters by making him a museum piece is a hell of a lot better than having him parade around as a victim of Baseball's tyranny. And then maybe the next time he gets busted or declares bankruptcy, he will be recognized for what he is, a lying, cheating criminal-with-a-gambling-problem Hall of Famer who has embarrassed all of Baseball.

Dave's Email

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