December 17, 2002
Rose redux

Some people were a lot harsher on Pete Rose and his possibly reentry into baseball than I was. Derek Zumsteg at the Baseball Prospectus, who has really dogged Rose and his dupessupporters, minces no words:

Pete Rose is scum. His actions threatened the integrity of the game that he professed to love. He betrayed the trust of every fan who appreciated him, and he especially betrayed those still in denial, those now fighting his battles for him and voting in goofy online polls. Baseball should have continued the investigations, forced him to cough up more bank records, more checks, and refused to let him plea out. They should have banned him from baseball, sued him into bankruptcy, bought his house for pennies, burned it to the ground and salted the earth so nothing could grow there. Instead of trying to play the issue down, they should have made it entirely public, showing everyone that baseball takes gambling seriously, that it would aggressively pursue those who did it, and would grant them no quarter.

Fans should spit at Rose when they see him on the street, and boo him when he hangs around stadiums. His autographed items should repel people in shock and horror. When Rose walks the street in shame, we should shake our heads and say "what kind of man would do that?"

Yowza. Rob Neyer at is not much more forgiving:

[W]hat's truly puzzling to me is the public love for a man who's firmly established himself as one of the more despicable people to wear a major-league uniform. Peter Edward Rose Sr. is a convicted tax cheat and a crummy husband and father who has, for many years, surrounded himself with drug dealers and various other unsavory types. Granted, none of us are perfect, but it seems to me that Pete Rose is significantly farther from perfection than just about anybody you would want to know.

Forgiveness is divine and compassion is wonderful, but very few of us are blessed with an infinite capacity for compassion, and I don't understand why so many of us would spend part of our precious ration on Pete Rose when there are so many others far more deserving. Just in baseball, there's Ron Santo and Bert Blyleven -- left out of the Hall of Fame because baseball writers don't understand how good they were -- plus all of those hundreds (thousands?) of brilliantly talented young pitchers whose careers foundered on the rocks of Major League Baseball's collective apathy and ignorance.

Scrappleface and David Pinto note that Rose is in a Catch-22: We'll consider lifting the ban if Rose admits he bet on baseball games, but betting on baseball games is a bannable offense. Oopsie. Dan Lewis has takes here and here, the latter being a clear explanation of why a manager betting on his own team is A Bad Thing.

I've explained my disdain for Rose and those who shill for him before, and though I would be willing to entertain thoughts of forgiveness in return for true contrition, my mind hasn't changed much. I'm mostly willing to forgive because I know there's no way Rose will ever truly ask for forgiveness. He wants in on his own terms, and even I think Beelzebud Selig is capable of saying No to that. So it's no skin off my nose to be magnanimous. If he surprises me, then I'll stick to my word. Forcing Rose and his supporters to truly face what he's done will be nearly sufficient compensation.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 17, 2002 to Baseball | TrackBack