I spent years as a semi-successful political blogger and I hate everything about that life. So take heed in knowing that I will not break ProcrastiNation’s strict no politics rule in discussing President Donald Trump or anything remotely related to his politics. This is about Pete Rose and the unjust ban he still lives under.
Earlier last week, baseball’s all-time hits king let it be known that following the Astros scandal that his banishment from baseball is unjust when compared to the punishments levied against those who cheated the game. Granted, Rose has been banging on Cooperstown’s door ever since his lifetime ban went into effect in 1989, but with the major sports endorsing gaming like never before and the current condition baseball finds itself, can his ban still rightfully continue?
Let’s begin this conversation under the assumption that Rose only bet on the Reds to win as the President himself tweeted out. Is Rose betting on his team worse than a hitter knowing to look off-speed in a 2-2 count? Charlie Hustle couldn’t pitch for his guys or force them to ground out to end the inning. One of the contentious points to Rose’s story is that he claimed to bet on the Reds every game, but evidence points that while he did not bet against the Reds there were pitchers he did not bet on. This may have effected the line of the spread when Rose’s money didn’t come in, but with no skin in the game it’s unlikely it effected his managerial style.
There’s also the discrepancy of whether or not Rose bet on games while he served as player-manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Even if he had, Rose left the game as baseball’s all-time hits king. Hitting a baseball is frequently viewed as the hardest thing to do in sports. To the point where failing 65% of the time is viewed as a Hall of Fame career, and if he were betting on the Reds he’d be trying harder.
Operating under these assumptions, neither team gains a competitive advantage based on the facts we believe to be undisputed and disputed. Rose is still punished with a lifetime ban which effects his Hall of Fame candidacy. While Rose may not have gone on to have a managerial career worthy of the honor, Cooperstown is missing the game’s hits king.
What we know from the Astros scandal, is that players used technology to game the system in favor of the batter. Scors wrote about the insane splits difference between home and away for the Astros. In today’s game, where players have consistent access of film on pitchers and can adequately study their pitches rather than reading scouting reports, they have a better idea where and when pitches will be thrown. The Astros cheating scandal effected actual game play much more than Rose’s scandal may have.
A.J. Hinch and the Astros General Manager ended up with only one year suspensions. Alex Cora and the Red Sox parted ways before a penalty could be levied. The Mets fired Carlos Beltran who served as the player mastermind before he could coach a single game as manager, but the current players escaped unscathed.
Will we have discussions on their Hall of Fame candidacies over whether or not to take titles away from Verlander and Grienke? Will we need to take hits away from Bregman and Altuve? The Astros changed the competitive balance of Major League Baseball, and Pete Rose is right, why should he be punished more drastically than what Rob Manfred has decided to levy on the Astros?
It’s time to look past Rose’s transgressions and let him into baseball’s hall of fame. Not just because Cooperstown is a museum of baseball, but because what Rose did pales in comparison to today’s biggest scandal.