>Pete Rose to Idiots: Get Off My Side, You’re Not Helping

>Earlier today, Craig kicked at some embers and turned it into a brushfire over at Circling the Bases, arguing that Pete Rose’s 20 year exile from Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame is not enough for an unapologetic serial liar who has worked tirelessly to promote himself and undermine the game he supposedly loves since at least 1989. As you can probably tell, The Common Man tends to agree with Craig on this issue. Over on CTB, The Common Man was not in the majority, however, as dozens of angry idiots with poor sentence structure and historical recall threatened to kill the Internetz with their innanity. Beneath their bile and foolishness, The Common Man left the following extended comment, and reprints it here under the general heading of “how not to argue in favor of Pete Rose’s reinstatement”:

I wish I had time to write a response to all you idiots, but alas there is not time and most of you can’t read at a high enough level for it to make any difference. Let’s clear up a few things:

1) If you are tempted to play the “even rapists and murderers get out of jail card,” remember that Rose was never put in jail for gambling on baseball (though he was for tax fraud). Going to jail is vastly different from not being allowed to work somewhere. Major League Baseball has never restricted his freedom to make a living anywhere outside of the context of Major League Baseball, which he agreed to in 1989. But just as someone who sells corporate secrets to a rival may get out of jail one day, it’s highly unlikely that his original company will want to hire him back. Same situation here.

2) Baseball has had a rule against betting on baseball since 1920. Since 1920, the consequences of breaking that rule have been drilled into its players, coaches, managers, owners, trainers, groundskeepers, batboys, and beer vendors. Rose knew what he was doing and what the consequences of getting caught would be. He made his bed, and has constantly whined about how uncomfortable it is.

3) Rose’s stunning lack of honesty and remorse undermine his case significantly. He seems to be a habitual liar, such that nothing he says today, about the nature of his bets or his conversations with Bart Giammatti, cannot be taken at face value.

4) As Craig has noted, his exclusion from the Hall of Fame is the Hall of Fame’s decision, not Major League Baseball’s. Baseball has no leverage over the HOF. While you might think that Bud Selig, Fay Vincent, and the MLB have had some kind of stick they can hold over the HOF’s head, there’s no evidence of it. Baseball is at least as beholden to the Hall of Fame (since the MLB isn’t going to start a new museum now for itself to funnel players and memorabilia away from Cooperstown).

5) Please get your historical facts straight. Ken Cochran, no one has ever accused Stan Musial of deliberately spiking Jackie Robinson. Quite the opposite; players have raved about Stan’s class and kindness to everyone, including his African-American and Latino teammates. VGREISS, Darryl Strawberry is not in the Hall of Fame. And Michael Seibert, Pete Rose quit managing in 1989. Robbie Alomar starting playing in 1988, and the “Spitting Incident” didn’t happen until he was playing with the Orioles in 1996. There is no way your version of events is remotely possible.

6) Can we please separate the debate about steroids and the Hall of Fame from the issue of Pete Rose/gamblers and the Hall of Fame? They are two completely different situations, completely different arguments. As far as we know, Rose was acting alone in the game, taking actions that may have compromised the integrity of the game on the field. Steroid users (while morally and ethically wrong) were part of a culture of cheating in which they were universally trying to perform better. We have no such assurance with Rose, aside from his word, which as I’ve already pointed out, is crap. Have a nice day.

As you can tell, I have nothing but disdain for Pete Rose, and everything he has done since 1989 to stoke the fires of this debate. He is, by all accounts, a first-class jerk. His body of work as a player is astounding, and his achievements will not soon be forgotten, whether he gets into the Hall of Fame, is reinstated into the MLB, or not. But I do not think he has earned himself any leeway in the debate, nor has he tried to. Perhaps a few years out of the limelight and some good works will go a long way toward changing my mind. Pete needs to work on himself in order to change my mind.