The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

PETE ROSE--BACK IN BASEBALL?: No, not now, not ever. The question is not whether Rose finally admits to what he did, but the fact that he did it at all. He bet on baseball, especially and including, games that he participated in as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. His owning up to what he has denied vehemently for fourteen years changes nothing. Major League Baseball Rule 21 (d) states unequivocally that anyone, player, umpire, or manager, who bets on a baseball game they took part in “shall be permanently ineligible” to play, manage, or umpire in the major leagues. Rule 21 (g) orders that the entire text of Rule 21, the rule defining misconduct, “shall be posted in every clubhouse” in baseball. Pete Rose played in the majors for 23 years; there is no way he could not have known what would happen to him if he was caught betting on the Reds. He knew the rule and he chose to disregard it, and as a result he is suffering the exact punishment prescribed in the rule for his misdeeds.

There are and there will continue to be those who wonder why drug addicted and / or alcoholic players keep getting second, third, or fifty-third chances while Rose has been ejected from baseball for a lesser crime. The answer to that argument is simply this: a drug addicted or alcoholic player hurts no one but himself. His addiction will interfere with his play and will eventually get him benched and then fired; his reputation as a substance abuser will follow him to every team he signs with. He will not get the slack that other players will get; fans will think every mistake he makes on the field is a sign that he has surrendered once again to his addiction. Gambling, on the other hand, calls into question the integrity of the game itself. The fan in the stands does not know in such a situation if what he sees on the field is honest effort or elaborate fraud, if the two teams he sees are trying to win or whether there is another secret agenda behind what is happening on the field. The Cincinnati Reds fan of the late 1980’s could not know if the actions Pete Rose took as manager were a result of baseball acumen or a need to cover a bet. Pete Rose knew he was breaking the rule; he should not be allowed to weasel his way out of the consequences now.


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