The Reds receive permission to honor Pete Rose

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The reason for the honor: the upcoming 25th anniversary of Rose breaking Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record.  Because of the ban, special dispensation was required:

Reds CEO Bob Castellini received the OK to honor Rose from Commissioner Bud Selig.

“The
Reds are celebrating every phase of the 25th anniversary. We approved
the request on a one-time basis,” Major League Baseball spokesman
Patrick Courtney said.

I have no doubt that (a) the game will sell out; and; (b) the crowd will go absolutely nuts with love for Rose. They adore the guy in the Queen City. Which makes me once again question the parameters of Rose’s ban and roll my eyes that the Reds need baseball’s permission to honor Rose like this.

If I were baseball’s philosopher king, I’d still keep Rose banned from holding a substantive position in the game because I don’t think he should be near actual competition. I don’t want him managing. I don’t want him working with young players. I don’t want him doing anything that could even conceivably impact the actual contesting of baseball games.

But the fact that Rose can’t work in promotions or p.r. or charity is kind of a shame. He’s still a huge celebrity in Cincinnati. He could — if properly supervised — do wonders for promoting the Reds. For drumming up interest and support in team charities. He could be a really effective team ambassador if given the chance.

Not that he’s really done anything to earn it, of course. There isn’t a thing he’s done in the past 20 years that cries out for baseball to give him a break.  But it has been a long time, and even if Rose never really learned his lesson out of all of this, there’s a lot of good he could do for the fans and the public. I wouldn’t give him a partial reinstatement for his own sake. I’d do it in spite of him for what I can imagine would be the greater good.  I’d think of it as baseball’s version of community service.

I do wonder, however, if Rose would even take the chance for such a thing if offered. He probably still thinks he should be managing or working in the front office or something, and that’s just not a good idea given his history and addictions.  And he probably would bristle at sensible conditions placed on him such as “hey Pete — if you’re gonna work for the Reds, we can’t have you signing women’s boobs at second-rate casino meet-and-greets, OK?”

Which is what Pete Rose will actually be doing on the actual anniversary of his record-breaking hit this year. The Reds are moving the celebration to the next day — September 12th — to accommodate Charlie Hustle’s hustling career.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.