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Selig’s Final Act Should Be Reinstating Pete Rose

David Brown of Yahoo’s Big League Stew caught up with Pete Rose earlier this week. Rose gave Brown a lengthy and honest interview that is a must-read for any baseball fan. Today, instead of managing in the big leagues, Rose spends his days signing autographs and attending dinners with baseball fans through his web business at PeteRose.com. When you hear Rose talk, I can only think about how the wall put up between him and the game is a disservice to current players and fans alike. Someone who appears to still have a passion for the game at age 70 should be a part of its culture. He should be allowed back in the game, made eligible for the Hall, elected, and then find an opportunity to work in coaching or management.

If Bud Selig is true to his word and retires at the end of 2012, he should end his commissionership with the reinstatement of Pete Rose. It would be a fitting final chapter to a period where the game transformed for the better. It would also dispel the label that he’s a cowardly commissioner that rules by consensus and has yet to make a controversial decision, even if it were for the better. Remember, steroid testing was more a result of political pressure than Selig’s courage and vision.  Personally, I would gain a ton of respect for a man whom I believe has been in the right place at the right time in the games history. A lot of his success has been due to him standing on an oil field. Dealing with the Pete Rose issue might be his toughest and most controversial decision yet.

Long-time readers of the site know that I have vehemently been against the sanctimonious nature of baseball. A sport that has a history of corruption, institutional racism, and close-mindedness should not be judging anyone’s character. Pete Rose broke the rules on gambling, paid his price, and now should be forgiven and reinstated. Anyone who gets stuck on his transgressions should take some time to read the story of Ty Cobb. If baseball were consistent with its penal system I could understand their stance on Rose. They has never been, nor will there ever be, blind justice in the game. This isn’t 1919, the lifetime ban for gambling is archaic and outdated.

When you walk into the Hall of Fame the follow statement greats you:

Hasn’t Pete Rose lived up to the credo? Hasn’t he been one of its “heroes upon whose shoulders the game was built?” Isn’t Rose’s style of play one that you would want all ballplayers to emulate? Shouldn’t he be given credit for finally taking responsibility for his wrongful actions?  Many also forget the foundation of the Reds 1990 title was built during Rose’s tenure as a manager. If baseball is truly “America’s Pastime” wouldn’t it be the American way to give him a second chance and build a comeback story?

When George Steinbrenner passed in 2010 I said that each voter has a right to interpret their ballot individually since there is no consistent standard required. However, it weakens the stance of those that are against Pete Rose entering the Hall of Fame, but are open to Steinbrenner. George was suspended and allowed back in the game, yet Rose hasn’t been afforded the same courtesy. It’s time to abandon that sanctimonious “integrity of the game” that many preach about with regards to the sport. Baseball, like American culture, is imperfect. The beauty of this country is we are free to make our own decisions even if it’s the wrong one. We are also a society about second chances, as everyone loves a good comeback. Baseball is no different.

The clock is ticking Bud. Is the new CBA going to be the cherry on top of your legacy? Not a bad encore, but you could do better. Do you want to go down as the guy that benefitted from the inevitable growth of the game? Is your stewardship only about committees and politics or are you ready to make a real decision? One that could potentially spark debate around the game like only steroids has in the past. Reinstate Pete Rose. Show us that you have at least one fastball in you after nearly 20 years of throwing us nothing but proverbial junk balls.

By Mike Silva
Saturday, 26 Nov 2011

 

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Bud Selig, Hall of Fame

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