Earlier this week, former Cincinnati Red Pete Rose once again asked MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to remove his name from the MLB’s ineligible list, which would allow Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This time, Rose thought it would be smart to argue that due to members of the Houston Astros not being punished for breaking a different set of rules, his own punishment should therefore be reduced.
First off, this is simply fundamentally fraught logic. Grouping yourself with the current biggest cheaters in all of sports is not going to help your case no matter the reasoning. Rose comparing himself to the absolute travesty that is the Astros is basically him telling on himself.
Which by the way, he has already openly done. In 2004 he finally admitted to betting on pro baseball. Famously, Rose tried to paint himself in a better light by saying that he only betted on the Reds to win.
This is always the first line of defense in the arguments used by those that want Rose in the Hall of Fame, so it needs to be first point addressed.
Let’s refer to MLB rule No. 21 for consultation on gambling in pro baseball. The rule states:
“Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
Well, this is awkward.
It absolutely does not matter that Rose bet on his own team to win. Did he or did he not bet on baseball games in which he played in? Per the man himself, he did.
He chose to illegally make a profit on his own job which he was already being paid for. That, by definition, is a stain upon the beauty of the game of baseball.
The seriousness of this argument cannot be underestimated because this is about more than Rose and his own legacy. This is about upholding the integrity of the game.
If you are already upset with my argument and vehemently disagree, please take a second a think about what it would mean if the MLB did in fact reinstate Rose.
First, Manfred and company would be going against the very rules of the league. The rule would have to be automatically changed.
Second, what is to then stop other players from doing exactly what Rose did? I mean, if I were a great baseball player, I would definitely bet on my team to win games if I knew I would eventually get into the Hall of Fame even if I had to wait 25 years to do so.
The standard is simply the standard.
Rose is the standard in which pro baseball players currently strive to stay away from. This is how gambling is judged. If the league even lets up a little bit on Rose, then the integrity of the game is completely demolished.
I could care less about other instances where someone else cheated in baseball in another way whether that be using performance-enhancing drugs or stealing signs. Those are completely different cases which have a different subset of standards.
Here, we have an extremely clear rule with an even clearer punishment and a player who confessed to breaking said rule.
Of course, a more viable argument would be that the MLB needs to change rule No. 21.
But that still opens up the same problems as reinstating Rose would do. Would it be changed to where players could be allowed to bet on their own team to win? How would that even be monitored? And would teams be happy if the effort of their players only remained high in games that they bet on their selves?
I can go on and on with the questions and problems which would occur if the rule was changed or if Rose was reinstated. At this point, it’s clear that the integrity of the game would be greatly damaged if either occurred. It’s a perfect rule with a clear punishment that Rose broke.
In the end, it’s pretty obvious for why there is a lot of support for Rose being reinstated: He was one of the game’s greatest players, and he has publicly expressed remorse for what he did as he approaches the twilight of his life.
It’s the very nature of the human condition to feel empathy for someone else. Honestly, I feel bad for Rose. He finally confessed to the truth and has tried to make amens as an old man looking back on his mistakes.
It’s a very sad situation which is incredibly unfortunate to witness.
You know what would be sadder? If the MLB doesn’t have a limit to it’s own empathy and let’s Rose ruin the integrity of the sport.
This is a cautionary tale that needs to stand the test of time even after Rose has passed from this Earth. Breaking the rules should never be met with a reward. People, no matter how famous or likable, need to be held accountable for their actions.
If you don’t believe that, than just read legendary coach Pat Summitt’s quote on accountability:
“Accountability, is essential to personal growth, as well as team growth. How can you improve if you’re never wrong? If you don’t admit a mistake and take responsibility for it, you’re bound to make the same one again.”
The rule worked, period. Rose has taken responsibility for his mistake. It would be a disservice to the man himself if that accountability was taken away by reinstating him.