Pete Rose & The Hypocritical Baseball Media

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.

Hope Solo & the Public’s Skewed View of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has become a hot topic of conversation for a little over a year.  It started with the Ray Rice incident and seems to have plateaued with Hope Solo.  While Solo’s incident seemed to die down over the past year, new details emerged a week before the beginning of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The fact that Hope Solo hasn’t been getting the heat in the court of public opinion that Ray Rice received [or the other men that have been charged over the past year Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, etc.] is wrong.  Rather than give Solo the same treatment that everyone has given Rice, many are coming out and trying to quantify the differences between the two incidents; which is absurd.

According to the dictionary, domestic violence is defined as; “acts of violence or abuse against a person living in one’s household, especially a member of one’s immediate family” (Dictonary.com).  Therefore there shouldn’t be a “scale” for how severe one domestic violence incident should be looked at compared to another.

For those who are unaware of Solo’s incident, the following is a brief summary.

Solo was arrested on two counts of domestic violence for beating on her half-sister and her 17-year-old-nephew.  The charges were dismissed on procedural grounds however Solo was never cleared of these charges.  “The city has filed an appeal with the Superior Court of Washington and oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 11” (HNGN.com).

To those that want to try and defend Solo, go ahead and look foolish.  Hell, you’ll almost look as ridiculous as FIFA for not suspending Solo for this World Cup.  They (FIFA) have no leg to stand on as to why they didn’t suspend Solo, and are making the NFL’s botched punishment of Rice look appropriate.

Domestic violence is despicable regardless of the gender that incites it.  We as a society need to stop looking at this issue with rose colored glasses and think that only men provoke this type of behavior.  Public opinion on domestic violence should be gender neutral, not men specific.  It’s understated that most of the incidents that are reported involve men abusing women, but this notion that women aren’t [or can’t be] responsible for domestic violence is just ridiculous.

Hope Solo is as much of a coward as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and/or Greg Hardy.  She violently attacked two members of her family and proceeded to lie about it afterwards.   She’s shown absolutely no remorse for her actions and hasn’t gotten the public criticism that she deserves.

In time, I hope more sports pundits and analysts criticize her actions in the same manner that they have towards the men over the past year.  Those who have the opportunity to call out the double standard and the “over the top” PC culture should do so.  The only way there will be a change is if those who have platform use it and stop hiding behind societal pressure(s).

Domestic Violence isn’t a gender issue and it’s about time “we” start addressing that.

A Humbled Basketball Fan’s Enlightened Perspective on Lebron James

Since he’s entered the NBA, I’ve been what many would consider a “hater” of Lebron James.  I didn’t like an 18 year-old kid entering a league with the nicknames “The Chose One” and “King James”.  Granted, he was a kid back then, but one that lacked self-awareness and maturity.  I “hated” on him even harder when he created the “Decision” and made a spectacle of himself.  I laughed when he lost the title that first year in Miami, and was bitter the following two years when he won his first and second championship(s).

What James has done so far in this year’s Finals have been nothing short of sensational.  He’s carried the load for a team that has a remaining roster of players [outside of Shumpert and Thompson] that wouldn’t be the top choices for a pick-up game.  He’s scored the most points ever in the first 3 games of the Finals (123) and it’s evident (especially after last night’s Game 4 loss) that this team will only go as far as he takes them.

The spotlight on James is brighter than on any other player in the league.  Now to be fair, he’s brought that on himself.  When you come into a league anointing yourself a “King” before you win anything, expectations are going to be set.  Let’s remember, HE’S the one who tattooed “Chosen One” across his back and wanted to be compared to Michael Jordan.  Now, I’m willing to admit that some of the criticism that he’s received over the course of his career has been a little much, but it’s not like a majority of it wasn’t warranted.

With that being said, I’ve come to an extremely unfortunate conclusion:

If James wins the NBA Championship this year, I will consider him [and accept] that he’s the greatest basketball player to ever play the game.  He would accomplish a feat that no other player has, not even Jordan.  There has never been a superstar that has ever won a championship by himself; Jordan didn’t win without Pippen, Magic had Kareem, Kobe & Shaq etc.  James has JR Smith and Matthew Dellavedova; not exactly an al-star lineup.  Not to mention his playing against a heavily favored [although a bit inexperienced] Golden State Warriors team that won 67 games this season.

I have been one of James’ largest critics throughout his career, but there’s no denying the greatness that he’s displayed.  As a basketball fan, I grew up watching Jordan and believed that there would never be another player who could do what he did; and that belief may very well change by the end of these Finals.  Even if the Cavs don’t pull this out, there’s a valid argument to make James the Finals MVP, even though he’d be on the losing team (he’d be the 2nd player ever to accomplish that feat, Jerry West was the first).

James has an opportunity to not only change my perspective (not that it means anything in the scope of things) but the perspective of all those who have questioned the legitimacy of his hype all these years.  If he walks away at the end of these Finals holding that trophy, he will cement his legacy as the greatest of all-time.

How a Simple Sports Segment Can Become Therapeutic

Last week Washington Wizard’s point guard John Wall was kicked off a plane heading from Las Vegas to Washington D.C;  reports stated that Wall’s friends “caused some trouble” with a fellow passenger, resulting with the airline requesting that the group be removed from the aircraft.

Wall isn’t the first (or the last) athlete to make headlines because of his friends stupid decisions.  Unfortunately, when you become a celebrity or [athlete], your life becomes public knowledge.  What makes life difficult is if a compromising situation arises and it isn’t their fault (but is their friend’s and/or relatives), the headline will begin with their name; which leads to the court of public opinion to make their own judgments, as it has in the case with Wall.

ESPN radio’s Colin Cowherd was talking about this incident on his radio show the other day and he made a comment about how friends and the people you bring into your life are going to do one of four things; add, subtract, multiply or divide.  It was an interesting take for sure, but when you sit back and really think about it, he makes a valid point.  Those who bring positivity and purpose are going to both add [to] and multiply your life for the better; whereas those who bring negativity and hardship will subtract and divide your life.

I’ve recently had to end a friendship (not by choice) that lasted almost twenty years.  Looking back on our time together, I realize now that we were heading for an impasse which I had chosen to ignore for a long time.  Using the scale that Cowherd had mentioned on his radio show, I recognized that while I might have been trying to add to their life and make it better, those actions weren’t being reciprocated.  Obviously losing a friend [especially one that you’ve had since grade school] sucks, but once the initial pain dies out and you’re able to reflect on it, there’s a good chance you’ll realize that it happened for a reason; and your life [in time] will be better for it.

This blog was never meant to be a sounding board for my personal life and/or experiences but I felt like it’s warranted given the subject matter.

I found it fascinating that so many sports personalities like Colin Cowherd and Scott Van Pelt were using John Wall’s unfortunate incident as an example of changes and/or experiences that they’ve had within their own friendships.  Van Pelt and Cowherd are geniuses in their field because they’re able to take something as simple as the John Wall story, and engage their audience in a way that will leave them (the audience) reflecting on their own friendships; like I did.  There aren’t many in the media that allow themselves to be vulnerable with their audience; but those that do give their listeners what they’re ultimately after, and that’s transparency.  It’s therapeutic for the listener to reflect back on their own experiences and what they’ve learned from them.

Who would have thought that a small sports story would become a topic could be so reflective?  And those few who[ have the notoriety and following] took the time to look at the core value of this story realized that there was more to it; and in turn helped one listener (in particular) for the better.