January 22, 2003

Pete Rose is offering to admit that he bet on baseball and meet Bud Selig's other demands for reinstatement, according to an unnamed friend quoted by Newsday. The move "likely paves the way for his entrance into the Hall of Fame next year, providing the voters can forgive quicker than he apologized," according to the paper.

posted by rcade to baseball at 07:40 PM - 24 comments

A Hall of Fame without the man who holds the record for most hits is an incomplete HOF. Pete is obviously a proud man and the idea of apologizing is anathema to him, but if he sucks it up now he goes in and he can die a happier man. Reading this made me think back of the Jim Gray/Chad Curtis (was it Curtis?) home run where he stood up for Pete in front of an audience of hundreds of millions. So many people want him in, that if this is truly a fan's sport then Selig and the voters should not stand in the way of that. I mean, good god, the man used to sprint to first when he got a base on balls, fer chrissakes.

posted by vito90 at 09:27 PM on January 22, 2003

I don't care if he holds ever record in the baseball book. I don't care if he walked on water while running the bases. I don't care if he healed the sick when he hustled in the outfield. If you bet on baseball, you are breaking the most important rule in the game. And therefore, you don't deserve the highest honour in the game. I find it ludicrous that baseball might let him back in for admitting the very transgression that got him banned in the first place. Another dumb ass move by Selig, of course. The only good about this happening is that the Rose-apologists (who insist that there is no evidence he bet on baseball) will look like idiots and will finally shut the fuck up about him. If MLB reinstates him, I hope the writers don't vote him in for 15 years straight. Then when he drops off the ballot, I hope the veteran's committee ignores him for good.

posted by grum@work at 11:29 PM on January 22, 2003

I'm glad to see this as well. Pete could totally play this off (or sincerely be doing it) as being for the benefit of his fans. He's got to be one of the most loved baseball players ever. I never dug the guy too much, but I know many people who have over the years, and I'm quite glad to see this happen.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:30 PM on January 22, 2003

whoops, held in preview for too long while surfing in another window. guess grum and I disagree.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:31 PM on January 22, 2003

Grum and I are in complete agreement. As a ballplayer he was awesome. Ever since he has shown himself to be a real idiot, giving me less and less sympathy for him. But personal opinions aside, he broke a rule, and should pay the punishment. Banishment. Admitting he did it solves nothing and shows us nothing. He still did it and deserves to be punished. Yet another instance where Rob Neyer (and Grum here) says exactly what I was thinking.

posted by Bernreuther at 01:13 AM on January 23, 2003

Ufez: If there was a SpoFi awards for "Most mismatched comments", I think we'd probably win that one hands down for 2003, and probably be up for the HOF. That said, I used to like Pete Rose a lot until I started to read up about him in greater detail. Personally, if there is some "magic evidence" that proves he DIDN'T bet on baseball (but did bet on every other sport), I'd have no problem seeing him get into the HOF on the first ballot. But I don't think that is going to happen...

posted by grum@work at 06:38 AM on January 23, 2003

I think it would be great if after he admits it Selig just turns to him and says "A HA! So you admit it, eh? Guess that makes us justified in banning your sorry ass!" and just totally denies him. That would be funny :)

posted by Bernreuther at 07:18 AM on January 23, 2003

Betting on baseball is not the biggest sin that can be committed against the sport. Throwing a game is. The only good about this happening is that the Rose-apologists (who insist that there is no evidence he bet on baseball) will look like idiots and will finally shut the fuck up about him. As described in the Pete Rose FAQ, there has never been a legitimate inquiry that proved Rose bet on baseball. Lacking that, all we have is a bunch of critics willing to accept one private report commissioned by Major League Baseball as the gospel truth. While I think that it's likely Rose did bet on baseball, it's time to let fans fully celebrate one of the greatest players of our lifetime. By the time he finishes a Selig-mandated probationary period, Rose will have completed 15 years of ignominous exile from the sport and inflicted a new apology and admission of guilt on himself. Why isn't that sufficient punishment in a society where 15 years is often considered a sufficient sentence for murder? It's crazy; Rose's critics need to find some other outrage to pop a boner about. Hide the women and children! He bet on a baseball game!

posted by rcade at 07:53 AM on January 23, 2003

Betting on baseball is equal to throwing a game, in my eyes. The evidence suggests that he bet on games he was involved in. Whether he bet FOR or AGAINST his team, as a manager, makes no difference to me. He is going to alter the method in which he manages THAT SPECIFIC GAME. If he bets FOR his team, he might leave his starting pitcher in longer than he normally would, thereby increasing the chances of winning, but also increasing the chances of injuring that player. If he bets AGAINST his team, well, it's obvious that he will attempt to throw the game to win the bet. The integrity of the game is compromised. If the fans and the players don't believe the game is on the up-and-up, then what point is there in trying or even watching it. I might as well go watch wrestling or Olympic figure skating. No, betting on baseball isn't as big a crime as murder, and that's really just a silly argument to make. The best comparison is this: If you found out that a politician may have been selling government secrets to the Russians/Iraqis/foreign-power, and that he resigned from his post voluntarily after they performed and investigation into his actions, and he signed a legal document agreeing to never argue the case against him, would you decide that 15 years of banishment is enough and put him back in Congress/Senate/etc. if he came back and admitted that he DID sell the secrets? Especially if he admitted that he did it 412 times, that he has always had a problem keeping secrets, and continued to deny he ever did it during those 15 years until he realized that he really wanted to collect his pension? Rose broke the trust of the game and broke the one rule that they post inside ALL baseball clubhouses. He knew the rule (he saw it 3562 times in his career when he walked out to the field), he knew the penalty (it's written right there), and he knew that they don't offer "do-overs" (See: Jackson, Shoeless Joe) regardless of how good/famous/beloved you are. Like I said before: if they find evidence he only bet on OTHER sports, then I'll hold the door open for them to put his plaque in the HOF. But this article suggests otherwise. By the way rcade, did you actually read the whole FAQ that you pointed to? It's probably the best collection of information that Pete Rose did bet on baseball games, and even Reds games (see points 3 and 4 in the FAQ).

posted by grum@work at 10:31 AM on January 23, 2003

grum, with all respect, baseball is a silly sport, not selling secrets to enemies that would kill us. There is a bit of a difference there. And with all of the Hall of Famers (current and future) that have taken performance enhancing drugs? Cooperstown is far from full of saints. It's meant for the best players, period. And Pete is definitely one of the best ever. As an aside, will there be a similar controversy if Ray Lewis gets nominated for the Hall of Fame?

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:00 AM on January 23, 2003

The evidence suggests that he bet on games he was involved in. Unfortunately, that's not accurate. If Bill James' piece in his new Baseball Abstract, is to be believed, there is no evidence that would stand up in any court. The evidence everyone refers to that "proves" what Rose did consists of the claims of what would be called co-conspirators. Pete Rose having bet on baseball is one of those things where everyone knows it's true because everyone was told it was true. Having said that, I'm no fan of Rose's. Like Cal Ripken, he hung on way too long and (to me) put himself above his team. Unlike Ripken, he is untouched by dignity or class. But my feeling mirror's vito90's: you can't have a Hall of Fame without the guy who succeeded in the sport's crucial act the most times. The idea that the Baseball HoF is a sacred masoleum for the best and purest is silliness. For all of Pete Rose's nauseating history, I'd rather share a seat with him on a cross-country bus than dozens of enshrined players (Ty CObb, Cap Anson, etc.).

posted by yerfatma at 12:06 PM on January 23, 2003

What surprises me is not the news of Rose, but the highly professional nature in how this conversation played out. I knew there was a reason why I signed up and started reading. I agree with rcade. This is baseball, not war. Also, as yerfatma pointed out, some of those older players who are in the Fame now were not exactly saints.

posted by jasonspaceman at 12:18 PM on January 23, 2003

First of all, betting on baseball games has the same gravity in the sport of baseball as selling secrets would in real life. It's a betrayal of the trust of the people (or sport) of which you are a part. If the rule isn't that big of a deal, why bother enforcing it? Let's just have players bet on every baseball game they are in. What's that? Pedro Martinez bet against the Red Sox because he knows he's going to miss his start? No problem with that. Now he's bet against them because he thinks he's got a twinge in his elbow? No problem there either! The entire Tampa Bay Devil Ray team laid down a huge bet against themselves because they are playing a game against the Oakland Athletics? Who cares, they were going to lose anyways, so they might as well make some money off it. Heck, they've decided to bet against themselves for the entire season! Of all the flawed characters in the HOF, how many of them broke the rules and got banned for life? (and not "Steve-Howe-8-chances-banned-for-life" either) Zero. Being a bad person in your own personal life isn't a problem to the sport. It does not compromise the integrity of the sport. It may tarnish the image of the sport, but the sport itself is not damaged. Being a racist on/off the field, playing dirty/mean/hard and being a general asshole isn't against the rules. As for Ray Lewis, there won't be any controversy. If I remember correctly, he was convicted of a misdermeanor crime (obstruction of justice) and nothing more. Lawrence Taylor had more run-ins with the law and he got in. But are there any players in the Football HOF that got banned for life for betting on football games? As for no evidence that Rose bet on games he was involved in, I again refer to the Baseball Prospectus article I linked and the FAQ that rcade linked. I'm a huge fan of Bill James (got his last two books (NHBA and Win Shares), but I think he's being a bit silly . Derek Zumsteg picks his arguments apart like a hungry man eating crab legs. Mmmm...crab legs. (I have a feeling that neither side of this argument is going to convince the other side that they are "wrong". But it's still good to have the argument to give each side to present it's point of view. I learn more about my own view from seeing the opposing one in more detail.)

posted by grum@work at 12:28 PM on January 23, 2003

Cool. Do you have a link to the Zumsteg piece (if it's online)? James' article seemed a bit flippant; the overall tone was, "Not that I care one way or the other but this side is 100% correct". I second the Ray Lewis thing. Think what you want about him as a person, but he doesn't deserve to be lumped into the "Probably Got Away With It" category with Pete Rose.

posted by yerfatma at 01:57 PM on January 23, 2003

The Zumsteg piece is the one I linked to above. Here it is again. Read it soon...it might disappear into the ether when Baseball Prospectus finally goes "pay" in a couple of months.

posted by grum@work at 02:17 PM on January 23, 2003

The evidence suggests that he bet on games he was involved in. If he did bet on his team, even his detractors make the case that he bet for the Reds every time he bet on their games. That blows the notion that he would burn out one pitcher's arm out to win a single game -- the favorite anecdote of the people who want to hound Rose until his dying day. I'm not saying that it wasn't serious for Rose to bet on baseball or even more serious to bet on his own team. It is a major violation of the league's rules, but 15 years of banishment, disgrace, and controversy is sufficient punishment. I would've reinstated the Black Sox who knew about the fix attempt but didn't participate in it at all, such as Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver. Making them carry that shame to their graves was too much.

posted by rcade at 02:28 PM on January 23, 2003

It doesn't blow the notion out at all. It just means that he was looking at each game on it's own, and not as part of a season of games. And unless he bet the EXACT SAME AMOUNT on each game, it means that some games had more importance to him than others. He might do something different in one game compared to another, based on how much money he had on the line. As for Jackson and Weaver, it's a little different. Jackson had two different testimonies in the trials. One where he admitted guilt, and another where he denied it. Jackson also received money for the fix, which he never returned to the gamblers or gave to the baseball officials (but some stories say he tried to). His "innocence" isn't quite as obvious as everyone (including Hollywood) would have you believe. In my heart, I believe he didn't throw any games, but there is not enough evidence to say he's truly absolved of any wrong doing. I think I'd have no problem with reinstating him, but if they never did I wouldn't shed a tear. Weaver never took any money nor ever admitted helping the fix. His crime is knowing about the fix and not informing the baseball officials of impending conspiracy. He was present at two separate meetings of the players where the fix was discussed, yet never said a word to the proper authorities. His "innocence" is a bit more believable and I'd have had no problem reinstating him after a specific period of time.

posted by grum@work at 02:55 PM on January 23, 2003

Yeah, Shoeless Joe Jackson isn't as innocent as Ray Kinsella suggests. Despite his batting average, I think he qualifies as complicit.

posted by yerfatma at 03:18 PM on January 23, 2003

Jackson reported the fix to Charlie Comiskey before the Series began, asking to be taken out of the lineup to avoid any suspicion of involvement. So Comiskey's as complicit as Jackson, and yet two parks have been named after him. If Jackson's continued banishment doesn't rate a tear, when it's one of the biggest screwjobs in baseball history, it probably explains why you're not lining up behind Pete Rose. It's interesting that people are willing to support lifetime bans on one player who was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing (Jackson) and another who was never even accused (Rose). Apparently, the presumption of innocence doesn't extend to the national pastime.

posted by rcade at 05:00 PM on January 23, 2003

Well, the presumption of innocence for Rose kind of disappears when he VOLUNTARILY accepts a ban that is worded to imply that he broke the very rule he claims he never broke.

posted by grum@work at 05:52 PM on January 23, 2003

In my opinion, he should be in the Hall, but forbidden to do anything officially related to the game other than PR stuff -- throwing out first pitches, et cetera. He certainly should not be allowed to manage or be in a front office position with any team. Oh, and I think his plaque at Cooperstown should mention the whole betting thing. I also can't say as I'm convinced one bit about his sincerity. If he was truly sorry, he wouldn't need "negotiations" about it. When I broke my mother's vase, I didn't go to her and say, "I'll apologize IF I can watch TV again."

posted by Jaquandor at 05:58 PM on January 23, 2003

Whoa, where am I getting lumped into here. For the record, I think both guys should be in the HoF. I just get a little nervous when moral relativism comes into play ("Where does this rate on the scale of bad acts among ballplayers." Alternatively, "Well, Jimmy broke a vase too and he got to watch TV.").

posted by yerfatma at 06:23 PM on January 23, 2003

For me, in the end, this all comes down to an opinion. The fact, or not, that Rose bet on baseball or that Joe Jackson was involved in a scheme to throw the 1919 series has nothing to do with admitting either of them into the Hall. Any ban from the Hall is unrelated. According to this article, Joe Jackson was not officially banned from the Hall until 1991 when the connection of being banned from baseball was made to the Hall. (I am guessing this was on the account of Rose's difficulties.) Why is that important? Because the Hall of Fame is not the property of Major League Baseball, despite a board with many Major League connections, including the commissioner. (Let's be clear here too: betting on baseball is not a rule of the game, it is a rule of Major League Baseball with good reason. But it is not written in the rules of the game, even the ones used by MLB.) I've been to the hall. Rose and Jackson have not been expunged from the records, game equipment from their playing days is on display. The Hall is about the game: all of the game, not just the Major League cartel that continues to sap the richness from the sport. Controlling even the most egregious behavior of those involved in a sport is within the interest of those who attempt to control the profitability of a modern sport. Control may relate directly to profit. If no money can be made on a sport because the game seems fixed (I won't say it's impossible -- professional wresting turns a buck), then let the sport die or enact controls to limit the damage. So Rose and Jackson are banned by Major League Baseball. Is the Hall part of the control that MLB needs to exert to profit from its product? I say no.

posted by 8ighteenAcres at 05:23 AM on January 24, 2003

It's great to read you guys arguing. I have no emotional attachment to Pete Rose, positive or negative. I think Grum makes a convincing case here. If Pete Rose bet on games he was involved in, he did the worst thing a pro athlete can do to his sport: making it unbelievable, therefore unenjoyable for the fans. All the interest, revenue and legitimacy of pro sports comes from the fact that an actual, real drama is being played on the field. If you lose that, you're down to wrestling. About This is baseball, not war and others similar comments... Rose's punishment is consistent with his alleged actions, within the world of baseball. You can reverse your argument this way: it's just Baseball's Hall of Fame, it's not Nobel Prizes. In my mind, as long as Rose is deemed guilty, the punishment should stand. rcade: 15 years of banishment, disgrace, and controversy Is Rose in jail? Is he wearing a scarlett letter? Can't he go out his house for fear of being lynched by a mob? You're downplaying Rose's actions, but "uplaying" his sentence. In the world of baseball, they are of the same magnitude, and that is the only thing that counts. If MLB wants Rose in the HoF, it's doing everything wrong. They should reopen the case, and prove Rose's innocence. Even then, the process is rigged. It's Rose who should appeal the previous decision, not the other way round. Why would MLB want to reopen a case it's closed a long time ago? Really poorly handled by Bud, once more. "A HA! So you admit it, eh? Guess that makes us justified in banning your sorry ass!" That's funny, but sadly, true.

posted by qbert72 at 07:07 PM on January 25, 2003

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