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"As though a rose should
2002-12-11 09:59
by Mike Carminati

"As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again."

ESPN has a poll with a series of questions regarding Pete Rose. It states that 91.3% of respondents believe that Rose bet on baseball and 53.6% believe that he bet on his own team. However, 52.2% also believe he should be reinstated and be elected to Cooperstown. I guess that's a win for baseball's disinformation brigade, which began with commissioner Giamatti on the day that Rose and he signed an agreement that no finding was to be made on the subject just prior to Giamatti announcing the agreement by saying, "I have concluded that he bet on baseball."

I don't agree with the majority in those results. Maybe things would be different if they had phrased the question something like, "Do you think there is proof..." or if they had an "Unsure" option. I do understand that it is the prevailing spirit of cognitive dissonance on the topic.

I do not, however, understand how:

- 1.1% felt that Rose should be reinstated but still not be eligible for the Hall of Fame. On what grounds would they keep him out? Can you say lawsuit?

- 8.1% feel that he should be reinstated and go into the Hall because the gambling law is a silly one. Well, I could see attempts to modify the rule in the future. I do not agree with them, but I could see that as a proposal (a refinement or formalization of the process may be in order though). However, if Rose bet on the Reds, he knew the rules. He's a big boy. He should be banned for life IF he broke the rule, which I do not believe can be proved.

- The voters found gambling to be the least objectionable of all the possible offenses among failure to "hustle" (whatever that means), steroid use, and cocaine use. "Ah, Johnny, that was a nice line drive, but you failed to run out the play after the infielder snared it. Ah, you're banned for life. Sorry." Why drug use is a more egregious offense is beyond me. Drugs do affect one's performance. However, having two grand invested in a certain outcome will have more of an influence. I just have to feel that the fans don't realize how long-standing and pernicious a problem gambling has been almost since "cranks" expressed their preference for the New York game over the Massachusetts variety.

- 20.3% felt that the ban should continue but that Rose should go into the Hall anyway. This is nonsensical: "Ah, Pete, You can't step foot inside a ballpark in any official capacity but we are putting your mug on the wall in our most hallowed ground. OK?" [in David Letterman's goofy phone voice]

Finally, the last poll question was "If Rose is reinstated, should Joe Jackson be reinstated and made eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame?" 80.3% said, "Yes". This is perhaps the best argument against reinstating Rose. Jackson was a great ballplayer. However, he admitted to accepting a bribe to lose the World Series. Rose never admitted to being involved in gambling on his own team nor is there conclusive proof to that effect. Joe Jackson is the last man who should be considered for enshrinement in the Hall. Besides, he only played until 30 and played only nine full seasons in total. His totals are impressive but not altogether demanding of enshrinement.

[By the way, the quote in the title is John Keats.]

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