Many of you have responded in the Pete Rose thread that a corked bat probably
wasn’t a big deal because, as the good fellows at MythBusters (and
many other researchers) have demonstrated, a corked bat doesn’t
help a batter hit the ball any harder or farther or anything, and
actually has some counterproductive qualities.
I’ll buy that.
I’ll also note that no studies have shown any performance benefits as a
result of human growth hormone, yet everyone still freaks out about that
too. We punish HGH users and, I presume, HGH users will suffer
penalties when their Hall of Fame candidacy comes up. “It’s against the
rules,” so many argue. The same can be said about corked bats.
doesn’t seem, however, that we’ll get a good read on how corked bats
impact someone’s standing in terms of baseball ethics for some time.
Why? The big names who have been caught corking all have other issues.
Here’s the list of players who have been busted for corking:
- Billy Hatcher
- Albert Belle
- Wilton Guerrero
- Sammy Sosa
I think it’s safe to assume that none of us spend a lot of time
wondering about Hatcher, Sabo and Guerrero’s place among the immortals.
Belle was obviously not a choir boy, so I don’t think the bat corking
seriously impacts our view of him. Same with Sosa and his PED
connections. Nettles may be the only big star who got caught corking
and doesn’t have anything else on his rap sheet. It’s not often the
corking violation gets mentioned with him, though.
Rose, obviously, is in the Belle/Sosa crowd. We’d question his
character and judgment and all of that even if we didn’t learn today
that he had a corked bat. Indeed, I think the corked bat revelation
moved the Pete Rose-scum-bag-o-meter needle less than a micron to
right. He has, in short, other issues.
Still, I’m fascinated by this story because, gambling stuff aside, Rose
is most often described as a fierce competitor. Well, he was a cheater
too, and those traits are related. At some point the line between
competing an cheating has to be drawn. Where do you draw it? At the
rulebook alone, or where a violation of the rules actually makes a
Corked bats probably didn’t help Rose. HGH probably doesn’t help anyone
who takes it. So, do we care or don’t we?