Pete Rose deserves to stay banned from baseball

If you’re a discerning NewsCut reader, you could probably tell by my March post that I think it’s time to let Pete Rose back into baseball. The clue I gave was the headline, “It’s Time to Let Pete Rose Back in Baseball.” Subtle, indeed.

Today, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said “no” to one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.

Maybe he came to his conclusion the same way I did, watching him on Fox Sports’ coverage of the postseason, which teamed Rose up with Alex Rodriguez, and Frank Thomas. The studio show quickly became must-see sports TV. It also reminded us why Rose, boorish as ever, is the guest you can’t wait to leave.

To be sure, boorishness isn’t a disqualifier for the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is the primary reason Rose wants back into the game.

But Manfred didn’t need to base his decision on Rose’s demeanor. He could make the case on his stupidity alone. Stupidity, too, isn’t a disqualifier but it’s what’s keeping Rose out of the game, probably forever.

Here’s Manfred’s statement regarding his decision.

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Rose has had 27 years to get his story straight. And yet he still seems to be claiming an innocence, a question that was more than answered in the investigation into his betting on baseball.

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It didn’t help Rose’s cause that he’s still betting on baseball.

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“You don’t know which way to read anything,” Rose said after his meeting with Manfred during the investigation “All I knew is, I was truthful to him, and he asked a lot of questions, and I had a lot of answers. We got along good, I thought.”

And maybe they did. But Pete Rose may not yet realize that he’s also a compulsive liar who can play a lot of roles for his audience, but a sympathetic figure is not one of them.

  • KariBemidji

    Ken Burns has the best compromise: Rose, he said, should get into the hall after he dies. “He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He doesn’t deserve to know he’s in the Hall of Fame.”

  • MrE85

    They could always start a separate Baseball Hall of Shame for players like Rose and Ty Cobb.

    • ec99

      Cobb reflected a viewpoint common to players of that era.

      • MrE85

        We’re going to need a bigger Hall.

    • Khatti

      Cobb, as far as I know, never did anything like this. He was a misanthropic son-of-a-bitch, but I don’t think he did anything like the betting scandal of hooked Rose in.

      • ec99

        No. But the question might be, would he have ever gotten into the HOF today with his views on race? If the HOF followed the lead of universities, and culled everyone someone found offensive, it would be a pretty empty place.

        • Khatti

          Ty Cobb is a unique case in that he probably hated everyone, but I can see your point. Far more problematic to me is Woodrow Wilson who was a southern boy in two ways: 1. He was a racist. 2. His memories of reconstruction were such that he detested the idea being foisted on the Germans after WWI in the form of reparations. Instead he wanted to form the League of Nations in the hopes of averting future wars. How much praise and how much condemnation does Wilson deserve?

          • ec99

            Good question. Some believe he essentially got us into WW I by feigning neutrality and arming England…witness the Lusitania.

          • Khatti

            A possibility. There are always theories about how we got into this war or that war. Ultimately what matters is that we’re there and how we deal with it.

  • crystals

    I’m lacking a lot of context – especially from those who believe Rose *should* be reinstated – but from my vantage point, Manfred presents an awfully good case in this statement. And Rose comes off looking like an idiot.

    ETA: I appreciate Manfred trying to be clear that this decision is NOT about the Hall of Fame. An important nuance.

  • Lindsey

    If Barry Bonds and Mark McQuire and the like get to be in the Hall of Fame, why is what Rose did so bad?

    • frightwig

      At this point, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are not in the Hall of Fame, although they are eligible, because the sportswriters who vote on it have created their own ban on steroid users, whether proven or just suspected of it.

      Why is what Rose did so bad? If he had money riding on the game, it might have influenced his play or the decisions he made as manager–even on days when he chose not to bet. (Suppose he didn’t have money on a particular game: would he have then saved certain players for the next day, when he might have liked the odds on the matchups better?) Associating with bookies and gamblers also might have invited their influence into the clubhouse. If anybody else knew that the manager or a teammate was betting on games, there’s a greater temptation and opportunity for others to get in on the action, and possibly fix games, too.

      • Lindsey

        See, the thing is, that’s giving a lot of credit to a manager.

        Also, to fix a game where no one else is in on it? Yeah, good luck with that.

        • Jim in RF

          No, it would be doable. I swear to God Gardenhire was intentionally losing games. How else did Corky Miller and Drew Butera stay on the 25-man?

          • Lindsey

            Yeah, but that had to have gone all the way up. Why else would they get rid of David Ortiz?

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Short answer: Its what created the office of the commissioner so its bad and its important.
      Longer answer: Ken Burns’ Baseball: Inning Three or Eight Men Out.

  • MikeB

    I was worried when Manfred took up this issue. Am relieved that the ban still stands.

  • Gary F

    ooooh Pete Rose belly slide. Cool.

  • Khatti

    Not a fan, don’t care.

  • lindblomeagles

    I’m with Bob on this one. Sports leagues GENERALLY DON’T BAN players for no reason at all. In fact, they all too frequently give athletes TOO MANY chances to correct “mistakes.” Like Alex Rodriguez’s season long suspension, Major League Baseball HAD, AND STILL HAS far more evidence of Rose’s gambling than the public actually knows about. He didn’t just bet on games like you and I buy Lottery Tickets. 27 years later, Major League Baseball STILL won’t let him in, AND THEY’VE KEPT TABS ON HIS GAMBLING ACTIVITIES, finding, among other things, that Rose, who lives in Las Vegas, STILL GAMBLES on baseball! That’s Captain Obvious being far TOO obvious. He DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE IN THE HALL OF FAME EVER, MUCH LESS BASEBALL.

  • kevins

    As a kid, I used to watch Rose, Bench, Perez, Conception and my personal fav..Tommy Helms, at Crosley Field. Get a red-hot, peanuts and a coke, what an era. I get the conflict of interest issue, but my heart says make him eligible.

  • Tim o’Bedlam

    Major League baseball has made it clear, over the last 90+ years, that betting on the game is about the worst thing you can do as a player or manager. Rose not only bet on games he had a personal involvement in, he lied about it repeatedly, for decades. I have no problem with Rose staying banned.

  • David

    Maybe if Rose would play (read: bet) on DraftKings MLB would let him back in.