Opening Day at Fenway

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

On the Outside Looking In, For Good

It's pretty clear to me that Pete Rose just doesn't get it.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected his appeal for reinstatement this past Monday, and now it looks for all the world that Rose will not be elected to the Hall of Fame in his lifetime.

Rose signed an agreement with MLB back in 1989 after it was determined that had bet on baseball while he managed the Cincinnati Reds. Rose figured he'd sit out a year and would appeal to Commissioner Bart Giamatti to be brought back in baseball's good graces. But Giamatti suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after the ruling, and every commissioner that has followed him has denied Rose readmission into the game.

I caught part of that bizarre press conference he held in Las Vegas yesterday. Rose talked about how he is just a "recreational" gambler these days, and being in Las Vegas, the bets he makes aren't illegal. And he told this to Manfred when they met in New York last September.

That just left me shaking my head. Gambling has cost Rose dearly. Ruined his reputation and kept him out of the Hall of Fame. And he admits he is STILL gambling?

Manfred had no other choice but to deny Rose. He clearly has not turned away from what is baseball's mortal sin among their personnel. He had to show the commissioner that betting, even legally, is no longer part of his life. It's clear that just isn't the case.

Rose went the entirely wrong routs after he was suspended in 1989. He denied, denied, denied for 15 years. Took all of his fans for suckers. In the early 2000s, I was coming over to Rose's side and thought maybe it's time we take a serious look at possibly bringing him back. And then, Charlie Hustle goes and ruins it by finally admitting that he did indeed bet on baseball and other sports in 2004. And it was just to sell another "autobiography." Just to make another buck. That convinced me that Rose should be kept out until after he dies.

What Rose should have done after his suspension was admit the truth about his gambling, and go out and get help for it. Yes there would have been some short term consequences, but if he showed the public that his degenerate gambling was out of his life, public opinion would have turned in his favor.

And I believe he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame 20 years ago.

I keep hearing these comparisons to the PED users of the last couple of decades, but this has nothing to do with them. There was no penalty for those users back in the 1990s and early 2000s, and most of those alleged users are still eligible for the Hall of Fame. It's apples and oranges as far as I am concerned, a whole separate issue for another time.

What is troubling, and rather hypocritical, is the fact that MLB has an agreement with the betting site "DraftKings." Sure, MLB personnel are prohibited from making wagers there, but getting into bed with gambling sites, despite being legal in most states, seems to go against the integrity of the game that was tarnished by the Black Sox scandal of nearly a century ago. But, of course, there is money to be made.

Pete Rose will continue to plead his case to the American public about how he belongs in Cooperstown, and will now do that for the rest of his life, posing himself as a martyr. He did it all to himself, and made some terrible mistakes after all the evidence was mounted against him. He had a shot at a second chance years ago, but his ego wouldn't let him do it. Sorry, Pete, you get no sympathy from me.

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