By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
There’s been a ton to parse through over the past week in the MLB. The All-Star game votes debate, the Cardinals hacking scandal, but the biggest bombshell dropped yesterday afternoon on the baseball world making us forget about those other stories. According to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, there is now evidence that Pete Rose bet on baseball during the course of his playing career.
Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader, did admit to having bet on games while he was a manager for the Cincinnati Reds. However, even at that time and through the years since, he has vociferously maintained that he didn’t bet on games during his playing career. The reactions as always surrounding Rose have run thegamut. For most, this is the final nail in the coffin for Rose ever getting into the Hall of Fame or being reinstated to baseball in general.
Baseball has always been sensitive to gambling because it has suffered the most because of it. No other league or sport has had a scandal on the level of the 1919 Black Sox. There have been game fixing allegations in other sports of course, but never to the level of players taking cash to throw the sport’s pre-eminent prize.
Because of this sensitivity the league and those that cover it view gambling on your team’s games or any games as a direct threat to the sport’s integrity and because of that anyone who participates in that activity has no place in the game. Mike Scioscia manager for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim basically said as much yesterday.
I understand the backlash against Rose. I fully understand where all of the people of the opinion that Rose should now never be reinstated are coming from. My question however, is this: Why does this report change anything?
Rose had already fully admitted that he bet on baseball as a manager in the game. Yet, this year there were many who had started to call for Rose’s reinstatement to the sport. Now, with this new report it seems the pendulum has swung back in the other direction. The conversation is back to the need for Rose’s ban to continue to be upheld.
Those opinions are fine, but the switch in the conversation startles me. To me, if you’re against Rose being re-instated for betting on baseball as a player then you should be against his reinstatement regardless. If you’re for him getting in to the Hall of Fame because of his numbers and place in the history of the game then this changes nothing. There’s no difference between him betting on games as a player or as a manager. He can have a direct impact on the game in both cases as a manager making substitutions or as a player with his play. So, why the dissonance in the collective mindset of fans?
I have no problem with those that believe Rose needs to continue to be banned from the game. My problem lies with those who change their opinion because now there’s evidence of him betting on the game as a player. It’s hypocritical to do so. Either Rose has served his punishment or he hasn’t. He’s proven to be a liar before when for 14 years after his ban he maintained that he never bet on the game. Then, he wrote a book admitting that he did while in the role of manager but never as a player. Is it really a surprise to you that information has now come to light proving that to be a lie?
Pete Rose, for as great a player as he was, has shown us the kind of person he is for years. If you are left feeling a sense of disappointment or surprise after the most recent news, then you have only yourself to blame.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email him.