Thursday, August 14, 2003

Polite Disagreement

Without wanting to arouse the ire of Mr. Russell and thereby have him predict my falling down the stairs, I want to raise a point about the Pete Rose garbage. This is something that had bewildered me, and's Rob Neyer was the first I've seen to publicly ask the question. Betting against your own team, akin to throwing the game like the Black Sox did, is obviously the reprehensible act whose harsh punishment is clearly warranted. Why is betting on your own team held in the same light as this? I accept that it is indeed a bad thing, as gambling and sports need to be sent to their corners like church and state, but if Pete Rose really did bet on the Reds but never against them, is it the same horrendous act? If betting on baseball games is a one-year wrist-slap, isn't Rose's crime closer to that than the betting-against "death-sentence" violation? Neyer proposes a decent compromise in his article.

I do think he belongs in the Hall, and after they make him grovel and 'fess up to what he did, he should get the same treatment as everyone else, no more or less, and then we can be done talking about his baseball merits, which can only further enlarge his ego. (Anyone who signs baseballs with "Hit King 4256" instead of their real name gets their mug in Webster's nestled between "arrogant" and "ass.") He probably would be in there already if he weren't such a lying prick, and I think this penance has been many folks' equivalent of Joe Jackson & the boys' snub of Ty Cobb for being a similar son of a bitch in Field of Dreams. (Whoa, Shoeless Joe on the other side of it – eerie, huh?)

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