Saturday, January 10, 2004


Pete Rose's public confession without contrition seems to be garnering more media attention than the Catholic priests who had been making a practice of playing pepper with altar boys.

This is another reminder that baseball remains a sacred institution of American life and you choose to desecrate that institution at your own risk. Why else would there be such a spirited discourse over the self inflicted wounds of a thoroughly unlovable louche of a character who is both without shame and apparently a conscience? “My Prison Without Bars”? Is the title supposed to evoke sympathy or my lunch?

Pete Rose violated the most sacred prohibition of the sport. He placed bets on the very team he controlled as a manager. In effect, he demonstrated both contempt for the game he claims to love as well as the fans who continue (for reasons that will go unexplained here) plunk down money for his autograph and are gobbling up the aforementioned sympathy soaker.

The fan who buys a ticket to a Major League Baseball game has every reason to expect that the outcome of the contest has not been tainted by the compulsive, addictive behavior of one of its participants. People in thus country have a choice for their entertainment buck, if they wanted predictable outcomes based on pre-arranged scenarios, then they can buy a ticket to the WWF or listen for free to talk radio.

Baseball’s appeal resides in the shared experience and its inherent fairness of opportunity. (In spite of Steinbrenners' checkbook) If you played as a kid, if only for a short while, you can relate to what is happening on the field and exactly how hard it is to successfully hit a baseball. You know that when the game begins each side will have exactly the same number of chances as the other to win the game; nine innings, twenty-seven outs. Unlike football or basketball, there are no turnovers or takeaways, fouls or penalties to alter the equation; opportunity is meted out in equal proportions. Where else in life is fairness distributed in this way?

By betting on his team, Rose undercut that sense of fairness and injected the petty, underhanded and fearful attributes of adulthood into a child’s game.

Mr. Rose's handler's have forgotten, or are ignorant of, the first lesson of public contrition in America; If you want the public's forgiveness, then at the very least, act as if you are truly, truly sorry. America is an extraordinarily forgiving place, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's remark about "no second acts in American life" has repeatedly been proven to be the most inaccurate aphorism in 20th Century literature.

Despite a soft spot for rogues, miscreants and hell raisers, clemency, American style does demand a price and that price is at minimum, sincere remorse. Mr. Rose has come clean in only one respect; he has admitted, in writing, he is incapable of producing compunction.

He deserves the prison he built.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


How much did Pete Rose wager on how fast Britney would have her marriage annulled?

Pete is back on the front pages with a book "My Prison without Bars", which contains his confession of betting on baseball (and according to the title his decison to quit drinking ). Thus, a tidal wave of publicity has inundated the airwaves and Pete's mug will be around until the natural public attention span gives out, which should be any moment now, or until Larry King declares the next great issue of the day.

In all likelyhood, Pete Rose has never read a book much less written one. I have met Charley Hustle and can say with a fair degree of certainty that if he hadn't had the ability to hit a baseball, he'd be lucky to be sweeping the stalls at his favorite track. Instead of the self proclaimed "Hit King", he'd be known as the "Shit King". And that is the problem that holds Pete Rose in its grip.

He is incapable of doing anything not associated with a ball and a bat or being Pete Rose the celebrity. He sure as hell isn't a good gambler and he is a complete loser at stiffing the IRS. People with these kinds of occupational limitations often qualify for disability, but its hard to get the thrill of losing your shirt in Vegas on $236.00 a month.

Major League Baseball can only hope that a casino or horsetrack will see the cha-ching in giving Rose a role as a the official "Welcome to Suckerville" spokesperson. That way Pete can make the money he needs to feed his addiction and he'll be seen in front of the thoroughbred and not in back, where telling one horse's behind from another might be difficult.

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