Saturday, March 29, 2014
Card #4: Pete Rose Highlight
Who Can It Be Now?
Pete Rose spent his entire career being one of the most divisive characters of his time and perhaps of all time. "Charlie Hustle" was Rookie of the Year in 1963, MVP in 1973, a 17-time all-star, and, of course, he broke the all-time career hits record once held by the All-Time most divisive character in baseball history, Ty Cobb.
Even so, Pete Rose also was and is an incurable narcissist who probably believed himself to be bigger than the rules of the game that absolutely, 100% prohibited players, coaches, manager, owners, trainers, bat boys, grounds crew, and ball girls from betting on baseball games. The definition of Narcissism is someone who pursues gratification from vanity or an egotistic admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes that derive from arrogant pride. Rose's entire personality is tied to his physical abilities and attributes from baseball, and to me that makes him a classic narcissist (disclaimer: I'm not a medical doctor or psychologist nor do I play one on TV).
Rose's son Pete Jr. played a grand total of 11 games for the 1997 Cincinnati Reds. Junior honored his father on the first pitch of his first major league at-bat by crouching in Senior's trademark fashion. Just as Pete Sr. spent time in jail (for tax evasion), Junior hit the cell block for distributing a drug called GBL which, if taken orally, is converted to GHB -- the date-rape drug. According to Wikipedia, Junior said he gave it to his teammates to help them "relax." Sure, Junior. Keep talking.
A Few Minutes with Tony L.
Just as timely as ever with Opening Day coming up this weekend, the Pete Rose for Hall of Fame discussion has come back up. Author James Reston, who wrote the book Collision at Home Plate about Rose and Bart Giamatti (that's Paul Giamatti's dad for you younger guys and gals), has changed his mind about Rose's banishment from baseball.
The basic gist of his argument to me is essentially that Rose has suffered enough through 25 years of banishment. Indeed, Reston even compares Giamatti's decision to banish Rose as similar to the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie. For what it's worth, Rushdie parlayed his fatwa into a four-year marriage to Padma Lakshmi, so it must not have been all bad.
Okay, back to the topic at hand. Should Pete Rose's banishment from the game be overturned to allow the sportswriters to vote on his Hall of Fame candidacy? It's a tough question, but one on which I say no.
The sadist in me wants to deny Rose the narcissist his reinstatement and possible enshrinement until after Rose dies -- just so he can't gloat and enjoy it.
The analytical side of me says that Rose broke clearly stated, clearly identified rules. It is not like the steroid issue because while steroids were and are illegal, the best that could be said was the the players using steroids were violating a policy which had no punishment attached to it until 2005.
Everyone in baseball knew what those guys were doing and condoned it.
No one in baseball knew what Rose was doing, and everyone in baseball knew that betting on baseball would result in lifetime banishment on the first offense.
So, my take in the end is Rose stays out unless and until we decide that betting on baseball is acceptable for active players and managers.