September 11, 1985: A Day to Remember (in infamy?)
Baseball is the great American game. How fitting it is that almost one year ago, baseball's all-time hit leader gave advice to the pitcher many considered to be the greatest right-hander of all time?
Roger Clemens' trial for perjury is scheduled for July 6, 2011. Clemens is accused of lying to Congress, which is a terrible thing to do.
Of course, those who have the right connections or have an agenda that those in power must have executed can lie to Congress with impunity, as Glenn Greenwald revealed in a 2007 article (Lying to Congress).
At an autograph show, which included baseballs inscribed, "I'm sorry I bet on baseball,” Pete Rose told the media he had some simple advice for Clemens. The best thing Clemens could do is to come clean. Rose explained his position.
"I wish I had come clean the day they had called me into the [commissioner's] office in 1989—I do, because I would've saved myself a lot of grief, a lot of everything. Money, you name it," Rose said.
”The thing that was so hard for me is I had a lot of respect for the game, and I was respected for that while I was in the game. And I miss that, you know? But I messed up, I messed up!"
Rose thinks that Clemens’ competitive spirit might cause his downfall.
"When I look at Roger, I just think Roger is a competitor, and he's got it in his craw that he's gonna go to his grave saying he didn't do this,” Rose said.
One of the greatest of all competitors, Rose wouldn’t acknowledge that he bet on baseball for 15 years. He finally admitted his transgression and has stated he wishes he had told the truth sooner or immediately upon being confronted.
Rose said that Andy Pettitte is the key that may decide the trial's outcome.
He believes that Andy Pettitte would not lie, which bothers him. Pettitte testified that Clemens spoke to him about using performance enhancing substances.
Pete Rose besmirched the game. What he did is inexcusable, but there is a double standard. Just as one cannot be a little pregnant, one cannot limit the potential consequences of gambling by betting selectively on certain sports.
The Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball, Joe Torre, owns race horses.
Baseball executive and former Houston Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker owns race horses.
The Steinbrenners, owners of the New York Yankees, Clemens favorite organization, own race horses.
Players Brad Penny, Mark Loretta, Yorvit Torrealba and manager Jim Leyland own race horses.
All agree that a major reason for being involved in horse racing is the competition, which many liken to baseball competition.
You tell me. Let’s say any one of the above bets a large amount of money on his horse and loses.
How is that not creating a situation in which an owner, a general manager or manager or a player might compromise the game?
A player who is a high stakes gambler loses $1 million in bets. Is it possible that player might seek some “sure bets” to recoup his losses?
The solution is to ban anyone associated with baseball from gambling. Owning race horses is fine, but betting on them is not. That will never happen.
Roger Clemens allegedly lied to Congress. He should be punished if it’s true, but the entire matter is debased by the fact that so many others, including exalted leaders of the country, have done what Clemens is accused of doing and were never brought up on charges.
One parting note.
Rose has done his penance, which is what those in power require. The time has come for him to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
Even if Clemens is found guilty, his career before he alleged used performance enhancing substances warrants his inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
Neither Rose nor Clemens will ever be voted into the Hall of Fame. Ask Joe Jackson’s relatives.
Pete Rose Discusses Roger Clemens