It’s a slow week in sports when a retired MLB player is making headlines, especially when that player has been banned from the game since 1989. This week Pete Rose dominated the sports world because of a report done by ESPN which stated that he bet on baseball games while he was a player-manager for the Cincinnati Reds.
For those who are unware, Rose finally admitted in an interview with ABC News back in 2004 (after lying for 15 years) that he had bet on baseball, but only as a manager. Two months ago during an interview with ESPN Radio he reiterated that sentiment and stated “I never bet on games while I was a player; that’s a fact” (ESPN.com).
This report all but seals the deal for Rose’s chances on getting reinstated with the MLB and getting elected into the Hall-of-Fame. There was no guarantee that even before this report surfaced that Rose would be reinstated, but there were many speculating that since the All-Star game would be held in Cincinnati this year, that this would be the perfect opportunity to do it.
Baseball writers are an interesting group, not to mention a bunch of hypocrites. They believe in the “purity” of the game and have extremely specific standards for those that they vote into the Hall-of-Fame. However for many, their standards have dropped a bit in recent years with the nomination(s) of accused steroid users; who have received votes for the Hall. There are still many writers who refuse to vote for anyone associated with steroid use, but there have been quite a few who have softened their stance and believe that a player should be voted in for their performance on the field; regardless of “suspected” steroid use.
*Before I continue allow me to make the obvious statement; steroid use and gambling are not “technically” the same thing however, under the surface they are. If someone is taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs they are giving themselves an advantage over the competition. If another person is gambling on the game, they can also have an advantage by “throwing” their at-bats or committing errors on the field [if they’re a player] or “fixing” certain defensive or pitching changes [if they’re managing].*
**The following is with the assumption that Rose is reinstated and is allowed to be nominated for the Hall-of-Fame**
Now, those same voters who softened their stance with steroid users refuse to vote or allow Rose to be mentioned in the Hall-of-Fame; I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t soften your stance with steroid users but on the other hand ban someone else because they gambled on games that they were involved with. Regardless of how you try and slice it, steroid use and gambling have the same fundamental advantage for those involved. Cheating is cheating, period. If those writers want to come out and admit that they don’t like Rose, I can respect that; but you can’t change your voting requirements to fit your narrative. Just be consistent.
As far as I’m concerned Pete Rose shouldn’t be in the Hall-of-Fame. He’s a gambling degenerate, a liar, and a cheat. His numbers are incredible and he’s easily one of the three greatest hitters (if not the best) ever; however, he should be punished for what he did. I’m one of many who believe that anyone who’s been linked to performance enhancing drugs doesn’t belong in Cooperstown either. With that being said, if voters start voting in players like Bonds, McGuire and A-Rod; then they have to vote for Rose as well, and my view on Roses’ candidacy will change.
I believe in fair play; which is ironic because not of the players with questionable careers do/did. Baseball writers have all the power in electing Hall of Famers and there’s no reason to allow their lunacy and hypocrisy to go unnoticed. Vote for steroid users [and Pete Rose] or don’t vote for them at all; it’s not a difficult criteria to set nor should it be up for debate.