Gambling. Addictive, dishonest, and low.
These are just some of the words that come to mind when thinking of the so called sport. But what would people say about illegal gambling? From 1987 through 1988, Pete Rose decided to violate one of baseball’s golden rules and bet on the team he was managing. Now at age 62, he is asking for forgiveness and a second chance. Because of his gambling offense, what baseball says about admission into the hall of fame, and his lack of sincerity in his apology, Pete Rose’s lifetime ineligibility should not be overturned.In 1989, Major League baseball released an investigation that showed Pete Rose had been betting on his own team the last two years (Brioso). Being part of baseball, you should follow the rules of the game, and gambling on your own team clearly crosses the boundaries. What most people do not understand is that not only did he break the rules of baseball, but he warped the world of sports gambling as well. The author George Will points out that as the manager of the team, Rose knew and decided when an injured player would play or not play.
People could follow his bets and knowing that he was the manager, would smartly change their bets to reflect his knowledge.The summer after the investigation was released, Rose agreed to leave baseball for life under the condition that he would not have to admit or deny he bet on games. Part of the agreement allowed him to apply for reinstatement after one year (I bet on baseball in 1987 and 1988). He has told everyone, the press, the public, and even his own family, that he never bet on baseball. For 14 years, Rose went under the radar and never told anyone the truth. Now, through his new book “My Prison Without Bars”, Rose writes that in fact he did bet on baseball and that he should be given a second chance.
Personally, I feel that if the truth remains hidden for 14 years and then eventually comes out in a self profiting book, it’s ludicrous to forgive him. It’s not just that it has been 14 years, because I know Rome was not built in a day, but if he felt that admirably about it, why didn’t he tell the truth right away and apply for reinstatement after the first year?Art Thiel, a sports columnist for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, points out that the problem with Rose is that he still does not understand why what he did is wrong (Thiel). The only thing he thinks is unfair about the whole situation is not being allowed into the Hall of Fame or back into baseball.
Apologizing nearly 15 years after the situation is not enough, and he should not even be considered as a Hall of Fame nominee.When considering admission into the Hall of Fame, integrity and character should count. The Hall of Fame website states that ” Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played”. Clearly, integrity and character are a factor. What kind of man would lie to the whole world for 14 years about illegally betting on his own team? The answer is the kind of man that has no morals, no standards, no integrity and no character.This brings me to the other side of the spectrum. Although the Hall of Fame does state that they do in fact look to integrity and character, it does not mean that they are the sole factors. Pete Rose does hold one of the greatest and most acclaimed statistics in the game; most career hits as his own website, www.
peterose.com, brags: with 4,256. So what should weigh more heavily in the Hall of Fame ballot, statistics or integrity and character? People who say statistics would be quick to point out that players such as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb had amazing statistics but did not always show the best manners.
In James Dao’s article, he quotes Dick Vogel saying, “If character was the issue, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth and plenty of other guys wouldn’t be in the Hall”. Vogel and others are the diehard fans who support Pete and his questioning of baseball. I respect that they will stand by their hero in times of need but to hang on and side with someone who can’t even realize what he did wrong sounds insane.My favorite player of all time is Ken Griffey Junior, and I have stuck with him from his early, rookie years in Seattle to his ailing, injured years in Cincinnati. I love the way he fields, the way he hits, and the way he is around baseball.
I don’t know much about his personal life, so I have chosen to love the baseball side of him; the rest of him is for himself. By taking this approach we can look solely to him as a baseball player and the statistics he produces. Integrity and Character will never be an issue.
Over the past few years, we have come to know what kind of person Pete Rose is on and off the field. Rose has blended his personal life of betting and his professional life of baseball. Alone they would be fine, but together they make a deadly mix.
After learning this, I don’t know what kind of fan would stick with him. To wrap my last points up, statistics are not the only thing that should be looked at when considering Hall of Fame admission. Being inducted to the Hall is the only major way of recognizing players.
There is no way to just take the statistical side for some people, and honor others for just their character. You need to take people as wholes. What they do on and off the field.Recently, off the field, Rose has been very active hustling his book all around the country and trying to convince people he is not what he used to be. The way he presents himself has many people in doubt as he seems to lack sincerity in his apology (Will). As quoted in the same article, he states, “I lied, but I’m just not built to act all sorry or sad or guilty about it” (Will). Sad, sorry, and guilty are all things that he should feel and not have to act.
No matter what his genetic make up, his feelings should come out. This quote has been the story of his life since he first signed the agreement with baseball about the gambling offense. He is, he insists, a victim (Will).
For too long, he has made excuses and tried to swerve the punishing pendulum onto something else. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next move he took was to sue the city of Las Vegas for making gambling so mainstream. He has dodged the bullet too many times, and it is America’s turn to say no.
“No, you can not be in the Hall of Fame.”Despite his sad excuse for an apology there is the other point that this is too little too late. For 14 years Rose has sat back and felt sorry for himself. Now as his eligibility for election into the Hall of Fame draws near, Rose is putting the burden on us to defend and forgive him. I think this is too much.
“For the most part, ever since it happened, we all knew that he did it” (Dao). Everyone knows what he did; they knew that the minute he took the oath of silence. We are not going to stand here and defend something we know is false.
Linking his apology to his self profiting book is also wrong. He tantalizes with the truth and lures customers into buying his book and getting all the facts.This last stunt shows you that he once again is just thinking of himself instead of the game that gave him everything. It strengthens Art Thiel’s point that he does not understand why what he did is wrong. It has always been about him and it continues to be.
What he needs to do is forget the argument and stop trying to capture the publicity.I strongly believe what Pete Rose did and is continuing to do is wrong. We should not reward him with one of the greatest honors in the baseball world.
With all due respect to his statistics, anyone who calls themselves a fan of the game knows of his accomplishments. His statistics will forever be remembered. Sure, everyone wants to be in the Hall of Fame, but does Pete Rose really deserve it? Do we want to reverse the foundation of morals baseball has structured over the years just to please some whining 62 year old? We must ignore the whining and squealing and move on. It’s over.