Pete Rose offers yet another apology. Does it matter?


First Pete Rose denied. Then — after several years — he apologized. That apology was almost certainly calculated to sell copies of his big apology-filled book, so most people discounted it.  Well, he apologized again over the weekend. This time at a celebrity roast in his honor, held in a casino ballroom, and this time with tears:

“I disrespected the game of baseball. When you do that, you disrespect your teammates, the game and your family . . . It took me years and years (to come to grips with
it) . . . I’m a hard-headed guy . . . But I’m a lot better guy standing
here tonight (because of finally owning up to it) . . . I guarantee everybody in this room, I will never disrespect you again . . . I’m a different guy . . . I love the fans, I love the game of baseball, and I love Cincinnati baseball.”

I’m not a big believer in public repentance. People treat it as a gotcha game with celebrities and politicians all the time. “He needs to apologize!” “That apology wasn’t good enough!” “He needs to repudiate that guy he knows who said that dumb thing!” “He apologized, but it wasn’t sincere!” Blah, blah, blah.

Pete Rose didn’t do anything to me, so I kind of don’t care if he apologized or not. This one was directed at a lot of his former teammates, players and supporters, however, and he probably did owe them an apology to the extent they’ve gone out on a limb for him over the years only to have him more or less humiliate them for doing so. Whether they accept it or not is between him and them.

What I don’t think this does is make any difference for his Hall of Fame case or reinstatement to the game. Nor should it. If Major League Baseball and the Hall have been waiting around for an apology that hits just the right tone in order to act then they’re both bigger lost causes as institutions than can possibly be imagined.

Pete Rose’s reinstatement should not depend on the adequacy of his public repentance. It should depend on (a) his desire to be reinstated and work in the game; (b) his risk to the game; and (c) his actions. Does he currently live a life and have associations that pose a danger to baseball? Does he seem like he’d be a risk if placed in a position of authority? Does he want in to actually work in the game and help out, or is it just a play for the Hall so he can charge more for his autograph? That stuff matters more than any tears he sheds in public, be they real or of the crocodile variety.

The apology, such as it was, was nice. I tend to believe those were real tears and not some put-on. I hope it helps Rose mend fences with Tony Perez and the others who were in attendance at that roast (though, prithee my dear: if these guys showed up at a Pete Rose roast, are they really in need of an apology? Seems like they love the guy all the same).

But to the rest of us it shouldn’t really matter.

Marlins granted permission to interview Larry Bowa

Larry Bowa
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The Miami Marlins, despite not having technically fired Dan Jennings, are actively interviewing for a new manager. Their latest target is a familiar name: Larry Bowa.

Jim Salisbury of reports on the coaching staff shakeup with the Phillies and, in the course of it, notes that the Marlins have asked and have been granted permission to interview Bowa, who is currently the Phillies’ bench coach. He has been offered a contract for 2016 by the Phillies, but he has never made a secret of his desire to manage again and has interviewed a few times over the years. Bowa, of course, managed the Padres in 1987 and 1988 and managed the Phillies from 2001 into the 2004 season.

As recently as a year ago it seemed unlikely that Bowa would get another look for a top job anyplace, what with baseball’s seeming eschewing of the crusty and feisty old managerial types in favor of young, inexperienced managers who had just recently retired from playing. But given how poorly that’s gone for most clubs — the Marlins included with Mike Redmond — this could be a winter in which we see a bunch of those old salty types returning.

Champagne after a loss? Why not?

Astros Wild Card

There was some hockey person last week arguing about how it was silly or untoward for baseball teams to celebrate clinching wild cards or other, less-than-championship-level accomplishments. Calling it bush league or lacking in act-like-you’ve-been-thereness or what have you. I can only imagine what he’d say about the Astros celebrating with champagne following (a) winning a wild card; and (b) losing the game which immediately preceded the celebration.

But screw him. Seriously.

I used to think that way. Indeed, if you search the HBT archives I’m sure there’s a post or two in which I disapprove of teams engaging in multiple champagne celebrations. But I was wrong about that and I’ve changed my mind on the matter over the past year or too. And on some other matters as well, all for the same reason: athletes are people just like us, not some avatars for our machismo and our fantasies. They’re people who have spent their entire lives devoted to their calling and do it under a lot of pressure and in the face of a lot of criticism and expectations from others. Why on Earth would anyone deny them their happiness upon the realization of an accomplishment?

This is even more true if you’re one of those misguided souls who erroneously believe that sports actually is separate from real life and believe them to be supremely and impossibly important. Even if you’re right — and you’re not — wouldn’t that give the athletes an even greater incentive to celebrate accomplishments? Funny how those people who who act as if sports is life and death would deny athletes their joy for defying death, as it were.

My view on the matter now is that if a guy hits a homer he should be able to celebrate it. If a pitcher strikes a guy out, he should be able to celebrate it. If a team makes the playoffs, no matter how low their seed and no matter the manner in which the accomplishment is achieved short of their competitors going down in a plane crash, they should be able to celebrate if they so choose.

So enjoy your hangovers this morning, Houston Astros.