Pete Rose offers yet another apology. Does it matter?

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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.

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

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Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.