January 8, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I went bird hunting three times over the holidays and did fairly good, so you know it takes something special to get me on a different topic (all you non-hunters can breath a sigh of relief and continue to read on). Iíll bet you that Pete Rose doesnít get into the Hall of Fame. Baseballís all-time hits leader is under a lifetime ban from Americaís favorite pastime because of his gambling problems.

However my all time least favorite player is making a push to get reinstated. In his recently published autobiography Rose has finally admitted he bet on baseball. And apparently since not many people care to read the book, Rose has taken to the talk shows to air his admission of guilt. I think its great that he finally came clean. Unfortunately I think thereís still plenty of dirt left on this Rose. The confession didnít seem to be anything more than another ploy to try to get back into baseball. I donít think Rose was saying he was sorry for tarnishing the game. Instead he was saying he was sorry for ruining his name and itís earning power. He was expressing regret that he was unemployed, was not allowed to manage in the sport and was not in high demand on the memorabilia and autograph circuits.

Why else would the man, who has lied all along about betting on baseball, finally change his tune? It doesnít sound like a person that suddenly has realized they were wrong. Especially when you hear the transcript of the meeting between Rose and baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Rose finally comes clean and tells the commissioner that he bet on baseball four or five times a week. But he then seems to attempt to justify his actions or at least lessen the blow by stating that he never placed any of his bets from the clubhouse when he was managing the Reds after his playing career was over. John Dowd, the investigator in the case against Rose documented that while managing the Reds, Rose placed more than 400 bets on baseball games including 52 bets on his own Reds during the two-year time frame.

In his book, My Prison Without Bars, Rose stated that he finally admitted he had bet in baseball after years of lying about his wrongdoings, mostly because of all the people that were telling him that if he came clean that he would be forgiven.

I might not be as objective as most, simply because I canít stand the guy and never could, even before I knew that he bet on baseball and lied all these years. So I suppose I could be wrong about the authenticity of this apology. Then again it may have something to do that December 2005 is the last chance for Rose to appear on the sportswritersí ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He could still be elected later by the veteranís committee, but most feel that is unlikely as fellow ball players have been less than amiable to include Rose in the sportís highest honorees. I donít think Pete is sorry that he bet on baseball or hurt the game. I think heís sorry that he got caught and couldnít lie his way out of it. They used to call Rose Charlie Hustle. Iíd say change that to Charlie Hustler.

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