Wednesday, January 07, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name

Here's a shocker: After 14 years of vehement denials, that he bet on his own team. Rose makes this "shocking" revelation in his upcoming book, My Life as a Lying Sack of Crap. Many people, however, remain unimpressed by Rose's sudden candor. Some cynics go as far as to view the confession as just another ploy by Rose to have the lifetime ban issued by MLB in 1989 lifted, and to finally get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Some critics of that ban, say it is much too harsh, and that Rose should be enshrined in Cooperstown strictly on the merits of his impressive stats. Mark Asher of the Washington Post talks about baseball's most sacred rule, Rule 21, which is prominently posted in every clubhouse at every level of the game. Rose thumbed his nose at that rule, which calls for a one year ban for betting on baseball and a lifetime ban for betting on your own team. The bottom line is that Rose knew what he was doing was wrong, and no one stuck a gun to his head to force him to place those bets.

One important aspect of this debate that has rarely been mentioned is why baseball is so paranoid about gamblers in its midst: The 1919 Chicago Black Sox. For the uninitiated, that was the year eight members of the Chicago White Sox bet against themselves and threw the World Series. That scandal almost destroyed the sport 84 years ago, and the leaders of today's baseball teams have not forgotten its lessons.

0 thoughtful ramblings: