Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Even I - whose hatred for Pete Rose burns hotter than a million suns - think MLB should relent and let the guy into the Hall

The recent Yankee-less post-season brought two taser-shocks during pregame shows, which generally, in terms of infotainment, fall a few notches short of Jerry Springer. The first was Alex Rodriguez, who a year ago would be viewed as the last man on earth to grace a future Fox Sports studio. In one of this year's broadcast highlights, A-Rod tossed a football into an overhead Fox monitor, bringing drool from Terry Bradshaw, the renowned leader in the War on Shingles. The second surprise was a pudgy, flustered yard gnome, who stood there awkwardly, chewing on his dentures in a 30-year-old suit that fitted him like the intestinal skin of a Polish sausage - gazing from the crossroads of Out of Place and Hopelessly Stoned. I blinked my eyes into focus at the sight of ol' Pete Rose.

I used to hate the guy. The "Charlie Hustle" bit never fooled me. Rose was a thug, bordering on rat-hood, and when he got himself banned from baseball, I cheered. Those who argue that Rose only bet on his teams to win miss the point. He didn't wager on every game. When your manager is a chronic gambler - and he doesn't bet on today's game - he tells every bookie in creation that his team will likely lose. MLB was right to throw the book - no, the kitchen sink - at him.

But if you're putting members of the Hall of Fame through a morality test, good luck with that. Ty Cobb was an evil bastard. (They say he killed a man in Syracuse.) Babe Ruth was a whore and glutton. Ted Williams was priapismic. Maury Wills was a junkie. Wade Boggs was a sex addict. Mickey Mantle was a train-wreck. Willie Mays greeted at casinos, Orlando Cepeda smuggled drugs, Ferguson Jenkins toked, Tris Speaker fixed games - and let's not even think about the racists. For every saintly Roberto Clemente, there is a John McGraw, who tried to bribe his way to a championship. And there is also Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago Black Sox, who supposedly knew of his players plan to boot the 1919 World Series, making him just a culpable as Shoeless Joe. But MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis - himself a scandalized member of the Hall - let Comiskey off, rather than punish one of the guys who was paying his salary.

So this October, there was Pete Rose, by far the ugliest mook to ever set foot in a Fox Sports studio, jabbing Harold Reynolds with his elbow and then grabbing the guy's wrist, just to let him know he was fooling. (An old Nat Lampoon cover captured exactly what he would look like.) Here was a 74 year old baseball version of Uncle Fester - (no, in a movie, his character would be named "Scrappy") - getting one last chance at a sodium light, and you know what? I didn't feel the slightest pang of hatred. It was nice to see him again.

One thing I've learned from getting old and cranky: Sometimes, a tiny dab of forgiveness will go a long, long way. But MLB hasn't figured that out. Commissioner Robert "I'm Not Bud, I Think" Manfred yesterday denied Pete Rose's appeal to be allowed back into the game. It was a heartless, spineless, hateful move. Manfred blamed the fine print of the by-laws, saying they say what they say, and what they say is what they say - humina-humnina-humina - therefore... What a crock.

One of these days, while you're trolling the latest shots of Miley Cyrus walking her dog, you'll see a pop-up news blip. Pete Rose will have had a heart attack and died. Everyone will say how sad it is, how he was a great player but "flawed." Soon after, some Gammonite will write a column championing Pete's redemption, and like Miss America contestants crying at the end of the pageant, the owners of MLB will emotionally restore Pete's cold corpse into their eternal fold. Fuck them. Baseball is run by a cheap, vindictive tribe of old money heirs and heiresses, who skim everything from the top before even thinking about fans or employees. Nothing has changed since the days of Charles Comiskey. For all his foibles, Pete Rose was hardly the problem. And among his career achievements, Rose did accomplish what I consider to be the impossible

He ended up making me feel sorry for him. Imagine that.

14 comments:

John M said...

The whole thing is ridiculous. What about those archenemies of baseball, the steroid squad? Any of them banned from baseball? The writers are keeping them out of the Hall...for now. But banned? Nahhh.

Rose is ancient history. He didn't trigger a rash of betting and game throwing. He's suffered enough. One lone gamblin' guy, lift the ban and let the writers decide.

Alphonso said...

You are right on, although I will always detest everything about the thug. The higher order of business, however, is the reality that the game is run and owned by greedy, slimy, bigoted old white men, like everything else in this country.

Pete should be elected to the HOF before he dies, just to piss in their pies.

Because, sure as rain, one or more of those assholes will try to earn a bow by proposing Pete Rose to the HOF after he is in the ground. They will see it as an opportunity to show their godliness.

Piss in their pies.

Let him in now.

Just label him as a street thug who could hit.

ceeja said...

El Duque: Just why is it that I care so much about this game and this team?

el duque said...

You were brainwashed as a child, and you still believe the Yankees are a lasting tether to your family, your manhood and to your country. At this stage, there is no sense in fighting it. All you can do is hope for the best.

And fans of other teams will say you are a spoiled fat cat.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Rose is a liar. He lied to Giamatti, he lied to Vincent, and he just got caught in a lie to Manfred this past September.

Their PED usage aside, Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa are all liars. None of them belong in the Hall for that reason.

Please don't look at these words and say that the PED issue belongs to everyone, owners included. I agree with that. What I am saying is that these 5 men are liars on a Lance Armstrong-ian scale.

How the hell can the HOF trust what Rose is going to say during his induction speech or in any speech thereafter? This asshole is a walking, talking present and future liability to the game and to the Hall. I don't blame anyone for not letting him or the others in.

Forget gambling and drugs. You lie, you're out.

Tom said...

You got this exactly right. One point you didn't get to is the insufferable piety of baseball's intelligentsia. The high and mighty columnists and commentators who hold baseball players to thought-and-deed purity tests before they open the door to Heaven.

Those are the voluntary assholes doing the bidding of the commissioners and the owners, pretending to speak in the name of The Fans to uphold the "sanctity of the game" while withholding the honors that ex-players earned while playing a child's game while they were young men.

The one who's got me steaming right now is Tyler Kepner of the NY Times, whose hectoring of A-Rod last year included an interminable series of columns expressing the same simple thought: A-Rod might be good but really he's bad. And now that Pete Rose has been rejected again, Kepner is doing a tap-dance on his disappointment.

I used to care about awards and honors like the Hall of Fame. I spent many hours as a kid trying to figure out what Bobby Murcer needed to do to in 1972 to surpass Dick Allen. But I've come to understand how screwed up the writers can be in their thinking about "Most Valuable" or entry into the HOF, and now I could care less. It's a freakin' sporting event, not an audition for a better place in Heaven. Players need to be judged for what they did on the field. Pete Rose, whose biggest violation was his haircut, earned a front-row seat in the Hall of Fame.

Alphonso said...

If there is a heaven, only Donald Trump will be allowed in.

The entrance fee is huge.

And the food is, " to die for."

Slow week in baseball.

Anonymous said...

THIS ONE IS SIMPLE..... I HATED ROSE (I STILL REMEMBER HIM CATCHING THAT LINER AT 3RD FROM MICKEY RIVERS AND "SNATCHING" IT BACK AT HIM) IN THE LAST GAME OF THE 1976 WORLD SERIES WHITE WASHING THEY GAVE US......BUT DOES HE DESERVE TO BE IN THE HALL AS A PLAYER?.....YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!...THE GUY WAS A GREAT BALLPLAYER, WHO WAS RELENTLESS....WAS HE A WINNER ON THE FIELD?....YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!...WAS HE A GREAT FIELDER?....YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! (AT MULTIPLE POSITIONS)!.... WAS HE A CLUTCH PLAYER?.....YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!.... 4256 HITS?.....HALL OF FAME?.....BELIEVE IT........WHO DO I NOT WANT IN THE HALL?.... DAVID FUCKING ORTIZ.....MANNY FUCKING RAMIREZ.....MARK MCGWIRE.....BARRY BONDS.....ROGER CLEMENS.....SAMMY SOSA......RAFAEL PALMIERO...MIKE PIAZZA (SORRY MIKE, YOU ADMITTEDLY TOOK SOMETHING WITH THE WORD "ANDRO" IN IT..IT SURE WASN'T LEGAL -HE SAYS IT WASN'T ILL-LEGAL AT THE TIME)!-JOKE-...... SORRY, AROD SHOULD NOT GET IN EITHER.......I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS, BUT I HATE NOT KNOWING WHO IS CHEATING, AND WHO IS NOT....SOME PEOPLE DON'T CARE AT ALL..... EVERYONE SHOULD BE BLOOD TESTED 3 TIMES A SEASON (ONCE AT THE END OF SPRING TRAINING....ONCE RIGHT BEFORE THE ALL-STAR BREAK....AND ONCE BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS START)...THIS WILL PUT AN END TO STEROID USE FOR GOOD.....BLOOD TESTING IS THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN CATCH THE CHEATS....NO OTHER WAY.

Ray Fosse said...

Pete Rose proves the Greeks were right when they asserted that a man's outward beauty reflected his virtue.

John M said...

Jeez, LBJ, liars? I mean, pants on firers? All the assholes who did terrible things who are in the Hall, and you draw the line at guys who didn't freely admit doing something that was "wrong"? (Even though the steroid guys weren't actually doing anything wrong when the rules didn't forbid PED use, only after.)

I guess we have a crapload of Presidents and Popes who ain't gonna make it to their Halls, either.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


John M.:

Yes, we have a load of "assholes who did terrible things who are in the Hall" and there were bad Presidents and Popes. What's your point? Are you saying that anyone should be let in the HOF regardless of whether they are embarrassing and annoying nightmares with no integrity who have demonstrated a profound ability to shame both people and institutions, simply because other "assholes" (who are now dead) are already admitted? Is that what you're saying? Please help me with your logic.

Don't you think the HOF committee might have a trace of a concern that, were Pete Rose to be admitted, he'd instantly set up a Walmart folding chair and a sheet metal card table right out front of the HOF doors and start charging double for signing his dry cleaning receipts? All so he can fund his unquenchable gambling habit? Believe me, if they're not concerned about this, they're concerned about the equivalent.

When you were a kid, after you said to your parents, "But everyone else gets to do it!", did they ever ask you in response, "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" What was your answer?

Tom said...

My answer when confronted with adults demanding answers was to find a convenient lie ... and maybe that's why I'm in nobody's hall of fame. But at the same time, maybe that's why I'm not too bothered by self-protecting fabrications.

Obviously, we can go around and around on this, and I'll probably lose the argument inthe court of public opinion, but I think entry to Cooperstown should be based on performance, not moral rectitude.

Alphonso said...

Is a bad Pope the guy who, for forty odd years, had sex with parish acolytes on his way to the Vatican?

He got his pointy hat anyway, right?

I'm with you Mustang. Let them all in if they could hit the rock when it mattered. And no one detests looking at Pete Rose, or thinking about him, than I.

These moral " judgements " ( vote him in; banish him, etc ) are made by old, rich white guy who, behind the scenes, are betraying every virtue known to man.

Just like in every corporation and at every government level.

Vote for Trump. He is honest in his cruelty and venom.

He would welcome Pete to the Hall, I think. We should ask him at the next Presidential debate.

joe de pastry, aka, joe disgusted pastry said...

Every player knows that if you bet you're banned from baseball. Screw Pete Asshole Rose. He's a lying jerk who tried to damage the reputations of the guys who nailed his iron asshole by lying for years until he saw a chance to make a few bucks by making a partial confession in a book that was undoubtedly full of lots of other lies.