If Mark McGwire Returns to Baseball, then Pete Rose Should Too

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIJanuary 22, 2010

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I never thought I would be saying this, but I think it's time for Pete Rose to be allowed back into the game of baseball.

Here's "the situation," and no, I'm not talking about the "juiced" guy that appears on the popular MTV reality show "Jersey Shore, "—though you could say there is a connection.

Pete Rose has been out of baseball since 1989 when former commissioner Bart Giamatti banned him from the game for betting on baseball. I agreed with that decision and never thought he should be allowed back in the game or into the Hall of Fame until now.

With the sanctity of the game reeking with steroids, and admitted user Mark McGwire welcomed back into the fold by current commissioner Bud Selig, I no longer see the justification for the Rose ban to continue.

Selig has repeatedly denied Rose the opportunity to get back into the good graces of the game.

Rose admitted betting on baseball, and that has always been considered the cardinal sin against the game. It's even posted outside every locker room so the players would understand the gravity of the situation.

Should betting on the game be considered a greater sin than cheating? Doesn't cheating not only help the player doing it, but also the team he plays for?

Nobody ever considered Rose cheating the game when it came to giving his best effort. He was known as "Charley Hustle" and even ran to first on a walk.

Compare that to today's sluggers standing at the plate and admiring the ball exploding off the bat before they decide to start their jog.

I always held a grudge against Rose because as a kid growing up he spiked my favorite player Ernie Banks on a close play at first. He also was famous for basically ending Ray Fosse's career by taking him out on a play at the plate in the All-Star game.

That was just the way he played the game: all out.

If every player adhered to the way Rose played, they wouldn't have needed to come up with that ridiculous home field advantage perk for the winning league in the All-Star game.

Rose was baseballs all-time hit leader with 4,256 and finished with a career batting average of .303. He also holds many other records.

He's been out of baseball for over 20 years, while a guy like McGwire can give a phony apology and deny why he really used steroids and be welcomed back with open arms.

Is baseball trying to say they prefer admitted cheaters to someone who played the game the way everybody should play it?

I don't agree with gambling on baseball and I know Rose was wrong for doing it, even if he doesn't know that. However, he was accused of gambling after he left the game, not while he was a player.

Gambling is an addiction. Choosing to cheat is not.

Pete Rose should at least be eligible for the Hall of Fame, because unlike McGwire and some of those other cheaters, there is no question that as a baseball player, he was a Hall of Famer.

But the question remains: Should he be allowed back in baseball?

Is letting McGwire back in saying that it's okay to use steroids?

That's what it seems like to me.

They say he could be an example of the dangers of steroids and steer other players away from it. But isn't the success he had using it and the money he made going to be an incentive for others to emulate him?

Rose could warn players about the folly of gambling and the consequences for doing it.

Wouldn't being banned from the game for life hold more meaning than until you came clean with your steroid use?  

You make the choice.