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Sports Commentary: Readers chime in on Rose issue

Apparently there were some people that disagreed with me on putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. Actually, I got one guy that agreed with me and one person that didn’t.

So, being Christmas and me being a nice guy, I thought I would share with my readers what the two said.

Walt said: “As an avid baseball fan, I agree with your opinion regarding Pete Rose. He should be in the Hall of Fame.

“What he did ‘off’ the field should in no way affect what he did ‘on’ the field. If anyone can prove he bet against his own team I would change my mind. Anyone averaging 177 hits a year for 24 years is incredible and his 4,250 hits may never be broken. Several years ago I read where a current member of the Hall of Fame got caught and convicted of selling drugs to minors. To my knowledge he is still in the Hall of Fame. WHY? Who committed the worse offense? Betting on your team to win is not a sin.”

As far as not publishing the other side, well here it is. I got this rather nasty email from my own family. My sister, Kim Hee, of all things, who just happens to be an avid baseball fan. To understand where my sister is coming from, she is the Los Angeles Angels’ number one fan. She has been a baseball fan as long as I can remember. She also grew up watching the Dodgers and is probably a bigger baseball fan than me.

Kim Hee comments:

“I read your commentary and greatly disagree with your support for Mr. Rose. Your ‘respect’ is not well placed and should be reserved for players more worthy. I believe you have minimized his actions for truly he didn’t just bet on baseball. He bet on baseball while serving as a player/manager of an MLB team and when confronted about the offense he profusely denied any wrongdoing up until it was undeniable. The only remorse/contrition he has shown has been remorse and contrition for getting caught. Many others that share your view have wrongfully pointed out that Mr. Rose bet on baseball, but he bet on his team to win and therefore was not ‘throwing games’. The question arises about the games he didn’t bet on the Reds to win. If he was not betting, was he throwing these games?

This gets hazier if you consider who Mr. Rose was betting with. These weren’t members of the church choir. Most were part of the organized crime set that makes betting profitable. It would be safe to assume that these upstanding citizens paid close attention to Mr. Rose and his bets. How much money did they ‘earn’ by betting against the Reds each time Mr. Rose didn’t bet on the Reds to win? Sounds a bit shadier now? In all cases, betting is betting and there is nothing right about it. All players know it and the ban isn’t too severe.

To your point about being absent from the hall. Mr. Rose is in the hall. His records and ‘accomplishments on the field’ are displayed as well as game-used bats/uniforms, etc. A more correct description is that Mr. Rose hasn’t been enshrined as a player into the Hall of Fame. Mr. Manfred is correct in retaining the ban which will continue to keep Mr. Rose ineligible for enshrinement.”

All professional sports have evolving codes of conduct that reflect the evolving sensibilities of our times. In the case of MLB they were ahead of the color barrier and played a lead role in shaping legal standards and social views. The ongoing struggles with the Players Union over the most correct drug abuse positions and policies is still ongoing. Among the less serious offenses, remember the times players used to smoke in the dugout before at bats / taking the field? Mostly these codes of conduct do change with the times but Commissioner Landis was right about the Blacksocks and Commissioner Manfred is right about Mr. Rose.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com.

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