What I'm about to say is among the most controversial things in baseball at the moment, especially after the speech given by one Henry Aaron at the Hall of Fame ceremony. And yet it's something that needs to be said, because this hypocrisy is spreading all throughout baseball.
Pete Rose does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Now of course, you and I both know that his statistics indicate that he deserves induction. His reputation indicates it. By any count, he was one of the finest to ever play the game. No, my argument has nothing to do with Pete Rose the player.
However, if we're going to crucify everyone from the steroids era and ban them from enshrinement, as Aaron suggested in his speech, Rose shouldn't be allowed in either.
Make no mistake about it: what Rose did was an order of magnitude worse than what Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, A-Rod or any other player who either has or has been accused of taking steroids did.
Not only that, but Rose acted like a child about the whole ordeal.
For 14 years, Rose denied he ever bet on baseball. 14 years of lying about his cheating. Then he finally admitted it, made a phony apology, and insisted that he only bet on his own team to win.
Even if one accepts the premise that Rose only bet on the Reds (I don't), what he did still had an effect on the way he managed the game. The way he managed relievers would be different. The way he strategized would be different. He may have put players into the game when they needed to rest simply because he had money riding on the outcome. He was no longer acting with the best interests of his players in mind.
Meanwhile, the requirements for Rose to be reinstated are very light. All he has to do is issue a written apology. And yet, childishly, he has steadfastly refused to do that.
Instead, Rose has elected to carry on as if he were a martyr, whining and crying while signing autographs from a card shop outside Cooperstown.
Meanwhile, when a player is caught for using performance enhancing drugs, what do they do? With a few exceptions, they admit to it, apologize for doing it, and move on. And it doesn't take them 14 years to do it.
He will get no sympathy from me. Not until he swallows his pride and issues that apology.
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