The Biogenesis scandal has changed the face of Major League Baseball in 2013 and has also opened a Pandora's Box of theories and ideas about what the future of the sport and, in particular, the Hall of Fame will be.
We have already seen an overwhelming number of writers who refuse to vote for players who have admitted to, have been put on trial for, or are speculated to have been using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs at some point in their careers.
But the big elephant in the room is Pete Rose, who has been banned from baseball since 1989 after it was revealed that he bet on Cincinnati Reds games in which he was managing, and what will become of him.
There has been a lot of fan support in recent years for Rose to be reinstated and at least have the chance to get in the Hall of Fame. After all, given all the fervor around Biogenesis and PEDs lately, how bad can gambling really be?
A fan-created site called "Lift The Ban" was created for the purpose of telling everyone why Rose should be reinstated without fully understanding the impact of why he was suspended.
Well, the fact that the Major League Baseball Rule Book (the actual one, not the made-up one with all those unwritten rules) has a section on betting certainly doesn't bode well for Rose's case. Here is what the rule states:
Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.
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.
By the letter of the law, Rose got the punishment that he deserved. The fact that he denied betting on baseball for years, until 2004 when he wrote a book called My Prison Without Bars, as a way to get money also doesn't put him on the best of terms with current commissioner Bud Selig.
It doesn't matter that he was betting on his own team, because that means he was manipulating players in ways that could have put them at risk for injury (keeping a starter in longer than he should be, using a reliever X-number of days in a row, building strategy around what would get him money, etc.)
There is no official ban on players who have tested positive for steroids or performance-enhancing drugs—just the self-righteous nature of the voters who refuse to let anyone who played baseball in the late 1990s into the Hall of Fame.
So should the way we see Pete Rose—or the way MLB sees him—be any different now that 13 players have been sat down in the biggest PED-related scandal in baseball up to this point? Should Rose be given the second chance he so dearly wants and many others would like to see him get?
If you ask Rose, there is no reason he should remain on the banned list in light of everything that has come down in recent weeks. During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on July 25, he said as much.
But there is a huge disconnect between betting on baseball and performance-enhancing drugs. Gambling was an epidemic for a long time, most prominently with the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, that nearly brought down the entire sport.
There were accusations that Major League Baseball was "in on the take" with the White Sox from that World Series. The league was forced to not only ban the players involved but defend itself from the media along the way.
Rose can say all that he wants about how gambling may not be as bad as PEDs, which is ridiculous, but he is not naive enough to be so out of the loop on what happened with the Black Sox to understand why he got the penalty he did.
There have been signs in every locker room that say "no betting on baseball," or some form of it, for decades. PEDs, despite what popular opinion would tell you, aren't compromising the integrity of the game.
Which player should go into the Hall of Fame first?
In fact, if you wanted to do a quick Google search, you can find studies on the Internet conducted by professionals showing that there is no corollary between steroids/PEDs and baseball performance.
When you take that into account—I understand a lot of people won't because it doesn't fit their narrative or they don't want to believe it—Rose comes off as the bigger villain in the annals of baseball history.
He compromised the very fabric of the game from a position of power, lied about it for nearly two decades and then only changed his mind when he needed money and had to sell a book.
Rose should not be in the Hall of Fame ever, nor should these latest steroid/PED-related suspensions open the window for him to get on the ballot. Bud Selig seems more than aware of that, but we have to hope that the next commissioner, whenever Selig decides he really wants to leave, understands the full magnitude of what Rose did.
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