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rambling on rose

Dueling headlines: Rose lied, Tug died.

McGraw was a rare sports legends who defied the hate-by-association that follows so many good players. Hate the Mets? Then you must hate all their players. So it is written, so it is done. Tug gets the asterik there.

"He was flamboyant, excitable extroverted, he would do anything for a laugh. I'm going to miss him. He was full of life." -- former Mets teammate Ed Kranepool.

If McGraw was the smile on the face of baseball, Pete Rose was the scowl.

I always feared Rose; when I was a young, starry eyed baseball fan (back before cynicism set in), Rose was probably last on the list of baseball players I wanted to meet. For me, at least, he has this air of duplicity about him. Even when he's smiling, he looks mean or devious. If one could see his aura, I'm sure it would not consist of colors, but of tiny little daggers. Call it a gut feeling.

It was the way Rose ruined Ray Fosse's career - I was eight at the time it happened and didn't give it much thought until years later - and the way in which he always seemed to want what was best for Pete Rose, even during a game, that turned me against him.

In the Fosse incident, Rose pretty much ran down Fosse, a catcher, during the 1970 All-Star Game. Playing for the kill is not something you do in an exhibition, which the All-Star game essentially is. When asked about it by a reporter, Rose said, I play to win. Fosse suffered a separated shoulder and was never the same player after that. Rose felt so bad about the incident (insert sarcasm symbol here) that he autographed photos of the play.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had no tolerance for Rose, the gambler. This prompted a long email from a reader chastising me for not understanding that gambling is a disease.

If there is one thing I do understand, it's the life of a compulsive gamble. And let's face it, Rose had to be a gambler of the compulsive sort if he went so far as to bet on his own team. And all these years later, what does Rose have to say about his behavior?

Asked why he finally decide to admit he bet on baseball, Rose said, "It's time to clean the slate, it's time to take responsibility I'm 14 years late." Rose told Gibson he took so long to make his admission because he "never had the opportunity to tell anybody that was going to help me."

Never had the opportunity? Lamest. Excuse. Ever. What was stopping him from taking aside a trusted friend or family member and telling them? Most likely, it was the compulsion to win that stopped him. One last bet, and then he would tell them. One last win. One big win. That's all he needed.

Oh, I know all about it. I know how betting makes you scowl all the time. I know how it makes you do things you might have never dreamed of doing. You think Rose cheated on his taxes on a whim? I know how betting can ruin lives. And I know, better than a lot of you and especially the writer of that email, that being offered help and accepting help are two totally different animals. Apples and oranges, as it were.

Betting on sports isn't a ten-second deal. You don't just make a choice, call your bookie and be done with it. No, you pore over statistics. You battle back and forth with yourself over the point spread or odds. You read, you gather information and then you place the bet, maybe hours after you started your research. That's for one game. And then begins the agonizing. The pacing. The wondering if you made the right choice or not.

Let me tell you something. Even if Pete Rose bet on his team to win, that doesn't make it any better. There's no way his mind was fully on managing a game he placed a bet on. Maybe he bet the over/under. Maybe his bookie was using a run spread instead of odds. He probably paced, sweat it out, maybe kicked a few water coolers or punched a few holes in the wall.

Compulsive gambling makes you a bitter, angry person most of the time. Big win days are few and far between. Even if you do get those big wins, you end up dumping it all back in the bookie's lap because you are sure you can parlay that lump of money into a heap of money. Then you surround yourself with people of questionable character. You dream up other schemes to make money. You get involved in things you shouldn't be involved in. All to pay the bookie and have enough money leftover to make the next bet. Most likely, you end up divorced. A bookie is a harsh mistress. Eventually your wife or husband will feel as if you've left them for the man with the betting sheet. That vig you pay may as well be diamonds and fur coats given to another woman.

Yes, I do know all about gambling. It's not a disease, it's a choice. Help in battling bad choices is anywhere you want to find it. But you have to want it. You have to want the help more than you want the next win.

I've got no sympathy for Rose, just like I had no sympathy for my ex-husband when he chose gambling as a way of life. He didn't want the help, either. Maybe years from now he, like Rose, will ask for forgiveness. And just like Rose, there will be a self-serving reason for it.

Well, that's not what I meant to write. But I did, so there it is.


Sure there's a self-serving reason. After '05, Rose will no longer be eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot. Like you, I've been a baseball fan since I was big enough to watch the game.

And if they vote this scum into the Hall of Fame after what he did, I'll never watch another game.


Check out Thomas Boswell's column in today's Washington Post.. I'll wait to read the comments themselves (or rather, let someone else buy the damn book and confirm the comments), but if Boswell is right, Rose isn't the least bit sorry he bet on the game, or trashed the people for 14 years who didn't do anything except their job. Notice the quote from Fay Vincent about Rose trying to sneak $100K through Customs to avoid paying taxes, not once but twice.

It's available online.

Pete Rose is the antithesis of the proverbial player who plays bigger than his size. Pete played smaller than his size -- he's a large man who was a dink hitter -- and almost as small as his personality. The kindest thing I can say about him is that he's a lying, self-serving, egotistical thug. I agree with the comment above -- if Pete is elected to the hall of fame, baseball permanently drops off my radar. Don't watch it much after the strike anyway, though I loved it before.

I love baseball, and agree with the others - Rose makes the Hall of Fame...I wash my hands.
Somewhere we have to draw the line and say - you go HERE and there is NO return...sorry doesn't cut it...

Maybe if he had 'fessed up way back then and agreed to live with the consequences I might have some respect for him. As it stands, he is a stain on the sport.

For me, at least, he has this air of duplicity about him. Even when he's smiling, he looks mean or devious.

I agree. Beady eyes plus a prominent jaw does not inspire confidence. Unless you're the Iron Giant. He rules!

I'm a Yankee fan and never liked the Mets. I also hated the Phillies, having grown up in a part of New Jersey overrun by their "fans." Yet, I always did like Tug McGraw. He was a great player and a class act all the way.

Pete Rose is nothing but a punk. I remember as a kid seeing the play at the plate when he rammed Fosse. I played baseball and always admired guys who played hard, but that play was criminal.

Charlie "Hustle" was nothing more than a singles hitter who hung around long enough (well past the point of helping his team) to break a record held by Ty Cobb who, despite being despised by his peers, may arguably have been the greatest of all time. Rose is nothing but a lying punk who dishonored the game. He doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. Even letting him in with a ticket is too good for him.

I'm no fan of Pete Rose, but gambling is not rampant in the game of baseball. What is rampant and in grave danger of destroying the game is the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The owners and the players are complicit in doing nothing to stop this systemic cheating, and it's only going to get worse in the future as new technological developments unfold.

There's a more detailed discussion of this issue over at red's site (Pete Rose thread), if you're interested.

I didn't know about the Ray Fosse thing. That just makes me dislike the guy even more. Add to that his self-serving confession -- now, after 14 years of lying, when he is so obviously angling for HOF status -- and we have the makings of a first-class baseball pariah.

I despise players who try to turn baseball into a contact sport: sliding into the bag with cleats up in the air, sliding off-kilter in an obvious effort to knock over the baseman, blocking the bag, purposely throwing pitches at the batter. That kind of stuff just really burns my toast.

Here's that Washington Post column mentioned in the thread below. A good read, and why Rose shouldn't get reinstated.

Let him in or don't.... I don't give a shit, to be quite honest. When visiting, I'll scowl at the plaque and/or the bust and pass it by. Not like the Babe's or Teddy Ballgame's or Ty Cobbs or Willie Mays' which I've stared at for long periods of time and pored over the statistics of. THOSE were players a boy can respect.

The Rose fiasco aside, Michele, you hit the gambling nail squarely on the head... I've lived through it (no, I wasn't married to it, Thank God) in my family as well...

Gambling is NOT a disease... it's an addiction, just like alcoholism (which I've also lived with...) and heroin addiction. And unlike Heroin, it's not a PHYSICAL addiction, it's a MENTAL one, so it's "all in your head," so to speak.

Addiction in general is a lifestyle CHOICE, for which there is help AVAILABLE for, when that person WANTS it. No, I'm not saying that there aren't certain PHYSICAL addictions, but even those are lifestyle choices because one CAN break them.

I don't mean to understate the pain of living with an addiction such as gambling, etc. but they are not a "disease" per se. Relabeling things like this to make them warmer and fuzzier for society in general to tug at heartstrings doesn't make them any prettier from the inside... trust me.

I don't mean to understate the pain of living with an addiction such as gambling, etc. but they are not a "disease" per se. Relabeling things like this to make them warmer and fuzzier for society in general to tug at heartstrings doesn't make them any prettier from the inside... trust me.

I understand where you're coming from Jim, and believe me, I agree...to a certain extent. But addiction is a disease. I'm married to a recovering alcoholic---he just quit almost a year ago---and we've been married for nine years, so I have a little bit of experience with this, as well. It's been my observation that the addiction is a disease, the behavior is not---there is a difference between the two and, jmho, it's time that we, as a society, learned how to separate the two issues.

As a society, we treat addictions as something easily solved by heading to an AA, NA, GA meeting, but these only solve the behavior issues---they don't get to the disease itself. And honestly, I don't know how anyone can call alcoholism or any other sort of addiction a "character flaw." When one becomes addicted to something, whatever it might be, there is already a neural link missing in the brain that allows for this. The behavior of drinking or snorting or placing a bet--whatever--creates a different chemical imbalance. So, there are two different problems here. And the base addiction can only be worked on if you stop the behavior. Addiction is a disease, plain and simple. And it's not touchy feely to say so, to my mind it's trying to solve the actual problem, which is the addiction. Now, if we're willing to say that someone who is depressed should go on medication to help the problem, because they have a chemical imbalance too, well, we should be doing more about addiction than just sending someone to an AA/GA/NA meeting. But we're not, because people haven't learned how to separate behavior from disease. If you're a drunk, you should just quit and save yourself and everyone else the pain of your behavior, in other words. It just doesn't work that way. I wish it did, believe me, but it doesn't.

I'm not saying these organizations don't do a lot for addicts, but just try getting your athiest alcoholic spouse to go to an AA meeting, and to buy what they're saying, even if he does want to quit and knows he needs support. Doesn't work very well:) This situation opened up a whole can of worms, of which this conclusion is the one I've come to and what we're basing his therapy on. And it's working---he hasn't even wanted a drink for almost a year.

As far as Pete Rose is concerned, well, he is an addict. I'm sure he probably is a heavy drinker, too. I wouldn't put drug use past him, either. Do we forgive his behavior because he's an addict? NO. I haven't forgiven my husband of all his behavior that occurred while he was drinking, why should I forgive Pete's? Pete's an addict; he committed his infractions under this addiction, and the behavior is absolutely unforgivable. I don't think he should be forgiven once he goes straight---all addicts have to deal with the ramifications of their actions---why should Pete be any different? I can understand the disease that led him to his actions, but I cannot forgive the behavior. This conclusion is only possible if, and only if, you separate the disease from the behavior. It doesn't make the addiction any prettier, like you said, to admit that it is a disease. To my mind, it's actually getting down to the bare bones of the problem.

I don't know enough about the Rose/Fosse collision to make an informed judgement. But, if I had been in the stands at Shea Stadium during Game 3 of the 1973 NL Playoffs, I would have thrown something at Rose for what he tried to do to Bud Harrelson. Rose weighed 210 pounds or so, while Harrelson was probably down to 145. And Harrelson landed on Rose after Rose tried to take him out on a double play. So, of course, Rose tries to punch Bud out.

Don't remember his complaint when his hitting streak ended: “He pitched me like it was the World Series!” Well, duh!

Go to Heck, Pete.

In retrospect, it's easy to see that Rose is doing his 'penance' in a very calculating way ('Buy my book to see my apology'), because he has only 2 more years of ballot eligibility left. If he doesn't get in 'through the front door, the members of the Veterans Committee are mostly against his admission, so this is his probably his last, best chance.

I once thought that Rose's on-field achievements mandated that he be in the HOF, ban or no. Then I read the Dowd Report from May 1989 (dowdreport.com), in which the evidence to support the charges is overwhelming and overflowing.

As Giamatti said in his statement in 1989, Rose signed an agreement to the lifetime ban "choosing not to come to a hearing before me", and "choosing not to proffer any testimony or evidence contrary to the evidence and information contained in the report of the Special Counsel to the Commissioner. Mr. Rose has accepted baseball's ultimate sanction, lifetime ineligibility."

So, he made no effort to disprove the charges, signed the ban, and has spent the last 15 years telling us he didn't do it. And now his 'conversion' comes while there's only 2 more chances for him to get into the HOF, and by the way, put down $19.95 to read it.

Sorry. No.

I can understand the feelings of those who will divorce themselves from the game if Rose is voted in. But remember that it's sportswriters, not any of the current team employees, who vote. I'd bet that the opinions of most of the writers have been in print over the past 15 years (gee, do you think that Pete and his people have 'counted the votes', too?). The real bad guy here is Selig. I don't believe that he's 'falling for' Pete's turnaround, but it is a(nother) black eye for his office and the game.

My thoughts, FWIW.


Man, talk about a hatefest!!

To the collective Rose Haters: bite my shiny metal butt! Heh.

Seriously, the man is one of greatest players the game's ever seen: how many people are known as "Mr. Baseball?" Hm? Like it or not, Rose was one of the legendary top-tier players like Mantle, DiMaggio, Ruth, or Cobb. He owns the all-time record for number of hits, which may never be broken. How many players last that long these days? How many last even 10 years?

As for the "he's just a singles hitter" folks, you really don't understand the game. Real baseball isn't about home runs. It's about singles, doubles, and walks; it's about knowing how to stretch a hit to second base, or steal third; it's about playing well. Rose managed a .300+ average for over 10 years as a "singles hitter," in fact, between 1965-1979, he batted below .300 one year (1974, .284).

Pete Rose numbers:
#1 Games played (3,562)
#1 At bats (14,053)
#1 Hits (4,256)
#1 Times on base (5,929)
#2 Doubles (746)
#6 Total bases (5,752)
#5 Runs scored (2,165)
#12 Bases on balls (1,566)
#20 Extra base hits (1,041)

Rookie of the year 1963. League MVP 1973.
World Series MVP 1975. Golden Gloves: 1969, 1970.

(from http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/)

Leaders in walks aren't listed, but Rose had 1566, more than most players ever get as hits for a career. Reggie Jackson (AKA "Mr. October") is the all-time leader in strikeouts: 2,597. Rose isn't even in the top 100.

Some names:
#2 Sammy Sosa (1,977)
#5 Wille Stargell (1,936)
#7 Tony Perez (1,867)
#10 Bobby Bonds (1,757)
#12 Lou Brock (1,730)
#13 Mickey Mantle (1,710)
#21 Lee May (1,570)
#26 Frank Robinson (1,532)
#28 Willie Mays (1,526)
#54 Carl Yastrzemski (1,393)
#78 Cal Ripken Jr. (1,305)
#80 Johnny Bench (1,278)

Pete Rose had 1143 strikeouts, from 14,053 at bats.

What does this tell us? A man who shows up in the single-digits in at least six of the all-time lists, four of them at #1: all-time games played, all-time at bats, all-time number of hits, all-time times on base.

How do you accomplish this? Especially when you consider that Rose never was a power hitter?

Simple: Rose was a man who played a lot (3,562 games), who played hard (4,256 hits), and who played to win (2,165 runs scored). A man, in other words who would run through the opposing catcher just to win the All-Star game; a man who would run to first base on a walk; a man who became known as "Charlie Hustle."

Yes, Rose injured Ray Fosse, and ruined his career. He didn't do it on purpose; he didn't go out of his way to injure the man. Baseball is a tough sport. Go back and check out the records. See how many men developed permanent injuries just playing the game; how many pitchers ruined their arms, or outfielders blowing out their knees.

Sure, Pete Rose was an SOB, but so are a lot of other baseball players. The problem is that everyone likes to fixate on the nice guys and forget about the mean mother-f@##ers that were great.

Take Babe Ruth. Several folks here have already placed the typical "drugs are ruining our sports" post, but if the Bambino were playing today he'd be snorting lines the size of the baselines! The man was a party animal who consorted with prostitutes, and there were a lot like him.

Better yet, how about Ty Cobb? Probably the meanest SOB ever to play the game, and arguably the greatest. Certainly he's no saint. But, oddly enough, Rose has in the past been compared to Cobb both for his onfield skill and his combatitiveness. I doubt this is mere concidence.

So hate Pete Rose, if it makes you feel better (or superior). I'll even admit he's probably a real SOB. Hell, I used to work with someone who played Little League with his kid! His verdict: "Pete Rose is an asshole, and so is his son." Fine, no problem.

Because we aren't talking about moral guidance here; we're talking about athletes who win games through talent. And by any objective standard, Pete Rose was one of the greatest players that the game has ever seen.

Oh, the gambling thing? It's sad, really. Because I firmly agree with Michelle that his confession locks him out of the Hall of Fame. Betting at all was bad. Betting on baseball was worse. Betting on his own team: unforgivable.

But don't call the man a punk, or a lousy player. It just illustrates your lack of comprehension.