Today on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, it was revealed that they had obtained notebooks alleging that Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader and recipient of a lifetime ban, was betting on baseball games while he was still a player in 1986. Yeah, Rose bet on baseball, grass is green, and I should work out more. All of the above are facts that no one is disputing. Rose has long denied that he never bet on games while he was playing, only managing, but these notebooks are saying otherwise. Is anyone surprised?
I’m not surprised. I’m over it.
Really. Call me ignorant or flippant, whatever you want, but I really don’t care. Is that bad? Is it bad that I don’t view betting on baseball as a terribly egregious offense? Rule 21, which reads “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible”, is why Rose is banned from baseball. Yeah, Rose really shouldn’t have done this, but he didn’t fix the World Series, like the Chicago White Sox did in 1919. And, as far as we know, he never bet on his team to lose, therefore showing that he would never try to throw away a game for the sake of winning money.
I think one thing that has formed my thinking about this is that I grew up the steroid era of Major League Baseball. I watched in awe as sluggers like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire hit baseballs with little regard. I saw the competitive advantages players have gotten through PEDs. To me, those are far more damaging offenses than betting on baseball. I know what you’re thinking, “But Hannah! You love Alex Rodriguez! How can you say this?”. True, I love that man, but I don’t love that he cheated. I stand up for Bae-Rod because I was disgusted with how MLB treated him and the tactics they had used. But, my feelings about PEDs are a whole other blogpost waiting to happen…
Look, gambling has not been a problem for baseball BECAUSE of Pete Rose’s lifetime ban. We really haven’t seen any betting from anyone since MLB brought the hammer down on Rose. Really, Rose has done MLB a great service. But, now that we are no longer seeing gambling happening, does anyone really care about what Pete Rose did 30 years ago? This news OTL broke today didn’t really phase me. Watching Monday Night Baseball on ESPN, former player/current broadcaster Mark Mulder shared similar sentiments that I feel: he’s over the whole gambling thing and views PEDs as a much bigger problem. Coming from a former player, that says a lot. Besides, people like Pete Rose. They respect how he played the game and they recognize how big of an ambassador he has been for the game. It’s been a joy watching him as an analyst on Fox and it’s been great to see him continue to contribute to and promote the sport he is banned from.
With the 2015 All-Star Game being held in Cincinnati, I was really hoping that MLB was going to be able to let Pete Rose participate in some capacity. As a player who meant so much to his team, to Cincinnati, heck, to the whole sport, it’s a shame that he probably will have to watch the game and festivities from his couch. As a fan of baseball, that sucks. I’m over everyone talking about Rose through the lens of his punishment. Can we please talk about the great player that he was and the great ambassador he is currently?
Let’s move past 1986 and let’s start tackling the problems affecting baseball today. Like PEDs. Or the lack of Yankee mustaches. Or still having SEVEN Royals starting the All-Star game.