No rosy end in sight to this mess

Jan. 8, 2004, midnight | By Luke Bostian | 20 years, 5 months ago

Pete Rose is a lying, greedy, amoral man. He has no scruples. He has no respect for anyone but himself. And through it all his self-righteousness stinks so much it can make honest people sick.

His new book, My Prison Without Bars is a joke. He admits to betting on baseball, finally. He offers a pathetic half-apology for doing that. So what? He deserves no accolades for it. All he did was admit to something that reasonable people have known for years. He's kind of like Rush Limbaugh. He has an addiction that he hid for years with bluster and high-and-mighty attitudes. The addiction has come out and he refuses to admit that he did something wrong, that he harmed people, that he harmed the integrity of his profession.

The only reason this is a problem is that some people focus too much on the irrefutably great player that Rose was. He put more balls in play than anyone else, ever. He's one of the best hitters of all time, if not the best.

Those people can't see that his skill as a player (and as a manager, because he had pretty good success in that part of his career, too) should never be allowed to overshadow the hurt he has caused to baseball. He violated baseball's cardinal rule and is totally unrepentant. Rose steamrolled the people who proved his guilt by slandering them and then led legions of fans astray. A guy in Vermont runs for president every four years on one plank: Get Pete Rose a bronze plaque in Cooperstown.

Please simply glance at this simple sentence, the qualifications for admittance to the Hall of Fame as stated on the Hall's website: "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." I'd say Rose scores three out of six on that test. Not enough for the Hall? You bet.

Perhaps, someday, if Rose can actually see the error of his ways, baseball might forgive him. If he says sorry to John Dowd and everyone else who stood against him and his loyal fans for years. If he apologizes to the players and managers and fans who fell victim to his crooked practices. If he actually, genuinely can be made to feel remorse for what he's done. If he shows some of the integrity, sportsmanship and character that Hall players are supposed to exhibit then maybe baseball could begin to consider whether he should be forgiven.

But right now he has no respect for the game or anyone it, no motivation for writing his "apology" but royalties that he'll probably just gamble away anyhow. Right now, Charlie Hustle doesn't deserve squat. Not a spot in the Hall, not any connection to Major League Baseball ever again. Many people will say he's done enough, but he hasn't. Baseball will lose any integrity it has left if it gives Rose what he wants, so it must stand firm on his lifetime ban. Simple as that.

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Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »

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