No, not Major League Baseball’s technical case. I really don’t care whether the commissioner has enough evidence to keep him out of baseball, or more probably just limit his exposure. This is a sport that has embraced Mark McGwire. What I care about is whether he gets into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And we’ll talk about the knuckle-dragging, booger-eating (insert Boston Accent) retahds who vote for the members at a later date (Babe Ruth wasn’t unanimous).
Steroids. That’s just as bad….right?
Wrong. Say what you will about steroid users in baseball. They cheated. Of course! They jeopardized their health. Sure (not that I care. That’s their business). They glamorized drug use among their youngest and most impressionable fans. Absolutely, and I am sure that there are cases of kids hurting or killing themselves with steroids as a result of baseball players’ use of them.
But steroid users’ goals were simple….to play better baseball. Maybe they weren’t thinking of the success of their teams, but hitting better and throwing harder and recovering from injury quicker has obvious effects on the success of the team.
Pete Rose gambled on baseball for the money. Just like steroid users took PEDs to improve their contracts. But gambling isn’t a one way street. When Pete Rose gambled, he had two significant opportunities to improve his return.
First….as a player he could manipulate the game on the field so that his team had a better or worse chance of winning. As a manager he had even more opportunity to do that. This obviously changed the odds so that his bets would pay off at a higher rate than expected by the bookies and the odds-makers.
Second….he could accept a reduction in his debt to his bookie in return for manipulating a particular game, or provide information to that bookie about his or other teams, enabling that bookie to manipulate the odds in his favor or just make his own bets.
Do I have any proof that these thing occurred? No, of course not. But I believe they do, and he had ample opportunity.
The essence of sport is competition. PED users change the dynamic; tilting the odds in their and their teams’ favor by artificially improving their play. That’s wrong but understandable.
Pete Rose changed the dynamic by tilting the odds away from his team for his own benefit. And that is unforgivable.
One quick question, CBD, ’cause it’s something I don’t know: did Rose bet on games involving his team?
If he did, that makes it even worse, of course, for the reasons you mention. But I have known of some Major Sports Figures who were, also, bettors and didn’t lay a dime on games when they might have had an influence.
All relative, of course. To me, Rose laying bets on games pales in comparison to beating up your girlfriend or being involved with dogfighting. But you kind of wish he hadn’t.
Say it isn’t so, Pete….
The progression went from Rose denying he ever bet to admitting he bet on games (but not his own team’s) as a manager to his old bookie revealing damning evidence that he bet as a player. So….I don’t have an answer, but I assume he did because he has lied about everything.
The integrity of the game is a different issue than off-the-field behavior. I don’t think anyone denies that many athletes are entitled, spoiled, violent assholes; many of whom deserve to be in prison.
Too bad Bud Harrelson couldn’t have knocked some sense into him.