Early last week, two of our terrific BYB writers wrote pieces about Pete Rose. Ike Dimitriadis put together a piece titled MANFRED REACHES ONLY JUSTIFIABLE DECISION ON PETE ROSE – “NO” and Steve Skinner wrote ROSE TO THE HALL IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Read them both, they are great.
Ike is not a fan of having Rose in the Hall of Fame. Skinner, like me, has a childhood hero in Rose, and believes he should be there... but understands Manfred's decision. Here's the quote that resonated with me in Steve's piece: "Baseball’s immortals are an incomplete group without him."
I'm about to go further...
I like Rob Manfred as Commissioner. Then again, I like anyone that isn't Bud Selig as Commissioner. But yes, I like Manfred. He's willing to look at everything. He's willing to make decisions and perhaps change things in a pretty stale sport right now. But I take issue with his decision to not lift Pete Rose's ban, even though Rose has admitted to still gambling on sports. Take a seat for this one...
Look, I find it interesting how many folks out there will look at gambling, and immediately say, "Well, gambling is an addiction, like drugs or alcohol. Folks that gamble uncontrollably are sick." And yes, I understand, and accept that assessment. There is truth to this you know.
But then why, when someone like Pete Rose CLEARLY needs "help", are we turning our back on the guy? We help drug addicts, alcoholics. Hell, there were cocaine users in the 80's on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Remember Dave Parker? That dude continued to play baseball after doing coke and weed. The Expos Tim Raines?
He used to slide head first into bases so he wouldn't bust vials of cocaine in his back pocket. Admitted and documented. The late Tommy Hanson just died of cocaine and alcohol ingestion this year. Who knows if he was an addict, but he was a user, this is a fact.
The plain fact is, if gambling is so bad, then why do we look at Pete Rose and just say, "Well, the guy needs to just stay away from baseball. He's a cancer, he's not getting help, he's bad news. He tarnished the game." Yet, drug addicts, or folks like Yovani Gallardo can drive drunk, yet, he's about to sign a contract with the Astros or Orioles to continue his career, (read DRUNK DRIVING DOESN'T MATTER TO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL for my perspective on that). Life goes on for every other addict, but Pete Rose is blackballed.
And PED users, yes, PED USERS can continue to use, disappear for their suspension, and come back with a clean slate like nothing happened. All of that is OK, but an addicted gambler is banned for life, regardless of the incredible play he demonstrated on the field. Regardless of him being the all-time hits leader.
Sure, you can sit on your high horse like you're the moral authority and tell me that PEDs users and addicted gamblers are not the same, and I'm here to tell you that you're dead wrong. Don't debate me on this, it's my opinion, I won't be swayed, and I'm gonna be honest with you, I'm tired of hearing your side on this.
Oh yeah, and how's this to bring your blood to a boil. If you're going to lump Shoeless Joe Jackson and 7 other men together with Pete Rose for 2 different types of gambling situations, then you sure as hell better crack down on drug use, public drunkenness, and PEDs use as well. Sorry to be the tight ass of all tight asses... but I'm sick and tired of Rose being lumped in with the Black Sox scandal, all because "gambling" is the word that's used for both. I kind of find it silly. Here's why...
In the 1919 World Series, the Chicago White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds, and eight White Sox players, Shoeless Joe Jackson being one of them, were accused of losing the Series intentionally. That's because it was suggested that the games were lost in exchange for gambling money. They were later banned from baseball because of it. Clearly it was a group decision, an idea conspired and executed by all, and so, it was strategic and with that, even though they were acquitted in court, they were still banned from the game for life. Jackson had an amazing career average before that, and so, he tarnished his career because he and 7 others work together to "throw" the series.
I gotta tell you something, that's not what Pete Rose did. It's just not. Plus, if you go through the Dowd Report, it was revealed that he gambled on his own team, and it wasn't to lose. It was to win. As Pete Rose admitted in 2007:
"I bet on my team every night... I bet on my team to win every night because I love my team, I believe in my team... I did everything in my power every night to win that game."
And so, I ask you, isn't that the basis for playing the game? To win? And furthermore, sure, he admitted it, he's a liar, but he's also an addict and that goes back to my original point. The man's sick, but he's banned... Coke heads? They can get help and come back. PEDs users are in the clear after a suspension. Pete Rose is a sick man, but played amazing baseball and is the All-Time hits leader. He bet for his team to win, not LOSE, win... but he gets lumped in with a group of players that intentionally threw a series in 1919. I'm sorry, I don't get it.
More over, whatever happened to that lunatic John Dowd, who recently falsely accused Rose of having "under age girls" in the clubhouse, IN THE 80'S. Really? Nothing happened with that story Mr. Dowd, and that's because I think the real person we should ban from any baseball type activities is Dowd who clearly has an axe to grind against Rose. The dude's old by now, and biased by the way. Sure, Rose may not be a saint, but false accusations and piling on doesn't exactly offer Dowd as a respected investigator anymore... it's over pal.
Pete Rose is not someone who conspired to sabotage his baseball team. He loves the Reds. He loved Marge Schott and sure, while siding with a woman like Schott isn't exactly great for a man's reputation knowing the woman she was, he to this day wears his Reds hat proud. Dowd and Major League baseball have this "thing" about gambling and Rose and have been riding this guy for years based on an old rule.
The irony is, things are changing. You know how I know? Because MLB is a major investor with Draft Kings and Fan Duel, you know, Internet gambling. Think about that for a second. There's no double standard here? Are you joking?
Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame for his amazing play, as well as he being the All-time hit leader. Does Rose still gamble? He's admitted it, and I remember reading and hearing he was years after. Has Rose tried to get help? Probably. Why wouldn't he? If people who love him want to help him and he wants to help himself, why the hell wouldn't he? More importantly, how about MLB do what they do for all their "addicts" and offenders... baby them. Let the rich player pay the fine for their addiction or bad behavior... and make sure they're suspended, but then... coddle them, and bring them back to the game like so many of the past.
And the most important question... Has Rose fell off the wagon and continued to gamble? Most definitely. But after everything I told you reading this old rule in the MLB manual needs to somehow be updated. It should be about a player's ability to play the game, not betting after he played, EVEN AS A MANAGER, WHO BET FOR HIS TEAM TO WIN.
MLB Rule 21. Misconduct.I'm not sure what any of this has to do with his playing days. Pete Rose is the all time hits leader. They need to do the right thing.
(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.
Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.
Pete Rose did not conspire with the likes of Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Tracy Jones, Tom Browning, John Franco and Buddy Bell. He's NOT Shoeless Joe Jackson. He's also sick with a bad, bad addiction for gambling. Not cocaine, or alcohol... gambling, and while Major League Baseball doesn't seem to chalk this up as a sickness... it should. Oh, and it should also cut investment opportunities with Internet gambling sites. Sites where folks GAMBLE to make money... and MLB collects on that. What a load of crap. What a contradiction.
Pete Rose belongs in the Hall. It's my opinion. I will not debate anyone on this issue. I will not return comments after this op-ed posts... that's because you'll never change my mind and I won't change yours. Pete Rose is my childhood idol and introduced me to the game of baseball.
Think about how strange it is, that the All-Time Hits leader with one of the most important records in baseball is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Something stinks in baseball, and trust me, it ain't Pete Rose.
Finally, let me say this... I do not gamble. I am not an addict. I don't dabble in drugs or alcohol to get loaded in any way. I do however understand what addiction is. It's a brutal cycle and needs to be handled, not ignored.
Pete Rose gave everything he had on the field to become one of the best, hardest working baseball players ever. He gave it because he wanted to do the best he could for his employers, the Reds and MLB.
Now the MLB just walks away from him? Really?
-Robert Casey, CEO & Lead Writer for BleedingYankeeBlue.com
Follow me: @BleednYankeeBlu
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