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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

At the risk of sounding like John McLaughlin...

"Issue Number One: Pete Rose recently admitted in a broadcast interview and a published book that he bet on baseball. Should this admission clear the way for his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, or should he remain consigned to baseball's outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, and his worm dies not?

Fred Barnes?"

"Yes, bec--"

WRONG! The correct answer is no--Rose has been lying and stonewalling for the past decade and a half. More essentially, his activity goes to the very integrity of the game.

Yes, Gaylord Perry threw pitches doctored with everything from WD-40 to snot, Sammy Sosa corked a bat (being a free country, you are welcome to regard it as his first and only), and the 'roid stories make all power records since 1989 or so seem a trifle suspect.


Those things do not involve outside influence on the integrity of the game. They involve cheating within the parameters of the game. Not good or laudable, but a far cry from raising the specter of some gambling puppetmaster pulling the strings to affect the outcome. For that reason, gambling is different, and has been since the Black Sox Scandal [here's another good site].

Know who played the Sox in that Series?

Hint: The muse of History is a devout ironist.

Sorry, but if Buck Weaver and Joe Jackson are still on the outs despite ample evidence (1) they didn't participate and (2) both played well, then the same should apply to Charley Hustle.

Especially since his side of the story is decidedly less credible after fifteen-plus years of lying.

[Updates: Michael L, one of the few cyberpeople whose actual existence I can personally verify (and a fine guy to boot), offers this link which pretty well blows the claim of Jackson's semi-innocence out of the water. Say it ain't so... . Looks like Weaver is the only plausible victim left. Sorta.

And Bryan, a homey of mine from waaay back, rightly reminds us of the Dowd Report which prompted Rose's ban in the first place.]

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