Thursday, December 17, 2015

Commissioner Rob Manfred Got It right with Pete Rose Decision

On Monday MLB commissioner Rob Manfred upheld the banishment of Pete Rose.  I believe this is the right decision.  This result also keeps Pete Rose out of the Baseball Hall of Fame as it states in their rules that "any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate".
1987 Donruss
I have heard many arguments from baseball fans for letting Pete Rose back in baseball and subsequently the Hall of Fame.  One must understand that a person must keep his/her own fandom out of the equation and think what is the greater good for the game.  I will give you some of the more popular arguments for the inclusion of Pete Rose and then why they are not valid.

1.   The Hall of Fame should only consider what the player has done on the field not off the field.  This one I hear the most and becomes even more invalid with the most recent news that Rose not only bet as a manager but as a player.  He strongly denied that he gambled for many years on baseball, but came clean saying in his 2004 book that he did bet while as a manager in 1987.  But documents surfaced earlier in 2015 that he also gambled in 1986 as a player/manager. 
Yes, Rose compiled a Hall of Fame resume before any known betting on baseball happened, but a person is guilty of a crime no matter when it happened in his career.  One can not separate manager Pete Rose from player Pete Rose or young from the old.  It is the same person.

2.  There are players with worse character issues such as murderers, rapists, drug users and wife/child beaters already in or would be allowed than a gambler.   In the normal world these character issues and crimes are terrible and are seen worse than a person who gambles on occasion and rightfully so.  But we are not talking about the real world, we are discussing the world of sports.  In this world, there is not a worse thing a person can do than gamble in the same game he or she participates in.  
When a person commits a crime against society he/she is only hurting him or herself(and the victims too). The crime does not affect the game whatsoever other than a temporary black eye.  But when a person gambles in the game he/she participates in, the game loses integrity.  Once the integrity of the game is questioned, the fans will stop coming and soon there will be no game.  There is a reason why precedence was made when commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned all eight players for life after the 1919 World Series.  There must be zero tolerance of gambling by the participants in sports.

3.  Steroid and other Performance enhancing drug (PEDs) users are allowed in the game and that is cheating too.    This here, we are comparing apples to oranges.  Yes, PED users did cheat in accumulating their career stats and had an unfair playing advantage during the games, but what separates the two is the PED users still competed fully at all times.   A person who has a stake on the game, one might make decisions that would hinder the outcome of the game in some way and they don't always show up in the box score or stats.  As a player, did he hang on the ball too long before throwing causing a safe baserunner? did not take the extra base as he should? did he miss the cut off man on purpose?   As a manager, was a pitcher left in the game too long or pulled too quickly? was a substitiution made that hurt the team? as examples
A PED user should be punished and the drugs should not be allowed in the game, but the fan also knew he competed fully whether for team or personal reasons.  For a gambler, it might not always be the case.   I might also add that no known or alleged PED user has come close to Hall of Fame induction even they are on the ballot each year.

After saying all of this, the Baseball Hall of Fame can change their rules and allow any player including Rose eligible for induction.   But as I see it now, Rose still would not have any chance for induction. Why?  Just as any criminal or addict,  Rose must prove he is a changed person.  In his meeting with Manfred, Rose admitted he still gambles on occasion and even on baseball.  Obviously, Rose doesn't feel totally guilty of his gambling or understands the consequences of his prior actions.   Rose should travel the country and preach the evils of gambling.  He also has shown no effort in helping the youth in teaching the game here or abroad.  Rose has shown no proof in helping the sport in baseball in a positive manner or is done with his gambling habits.  Until Pete Rose has done this, he should not be considered for the Hall of Fame if he ever becomes eligible.