Rose keeps admissions coming

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

First, it was “No I didn’t.” Then came, “Yes, I did.” Now it’s, “Yes, I did, and more.”

While speaking in Cincinnati this past week in connection with the opening of an 11-month display in his honor as part of the Reds Hall of Fame at Great American Ball Park, Pete Rose not only reiterated that he bet on baseball, he bet on the Reds to win every night.

“I bet on my team every night. I didn’t bet on my team four nights a week. I was wrong,” Rose said.

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Hmm. First he said he never bet on baseball, yet he still accepted a lifetime ban in 1989 for gambling with then commissioner Bart Giamatti who died of a heart attack nine days after announcing the banishment.

Last year, 17 years after the fact, Rose admitted — in a book — that he did, in fact, bet on baseball.

And now this.

It’s probably not a good idea to call him as a character witness.

I can’t condone what Rose did, but at least he tried as hard as he could to win in order to win his bet. There are a lot of players in all sports who don’t have any money riding on the outcome, but tank their effort for whatever reason.

Gary Sheffield once admitted he tried to make outs and drop pop flies in order to get traded out of the Milwaukee organization. It worked. He was traded to San Diego.

While it continues to be argued that Rose deserves a spot in Baseball’s Hall of Fame for his accomplishments, he said it has become less of an issue with him. He did acknowledge that he expected the ban to be lifted when Bud Selig became commissioner.

“I quit worrying about it. I really thought I was going to be reinstated. Something changes (Selig’s) mind,” Rose said.

John Dowd, who prepared the report on Rose’s gambling, said the ex-Red bet while he was still playing. He said Rose will never get into the Hall of Fame and that he should just “get used to it.”

You’re a real sweetheart, John. Love the compassion.

Unlike others who blame everyone else for their problems, Rose accepted all guilt.

“I made a big mistake. It’s my fault. It’s nobody else’s fault,” Rose said.

And Rose is right. He is the only one to blame, and any repercussions from his actions are justified. There is a sign in every clubhouse that says don’t bet on baseball or you will be banned. Rose, in all his arrogance, snubbed his nose to the law.

Many sports writers and fans said Rose needed to tell the truth and then he would be forgiven. Once Rose came clean, he was chastised and questioned if it was all done just for more money.

Again, Rose’s fault for not telling the truth when it happened.

But Rose is not much different than many other players in the game today or, for that matter, in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Barry Bonds is headed for a first ballot induction and his bust will probably be three sizes larger because he shined it with some special cream.

Baseball is very forgiving. Gaylord Perry cheated as a pitcher and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Ty Cobb was a racist and hated by everyone in the league, yet he’s in the Hall of Fame.

Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments. He doesn’t belong back in baseball for all his sins.

— Sinatra —

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.