There are actually a couple of good quotes from Pete Rose in this story from Ted Berg at USA Today. A lengthy one about how, in his view, the PED stuff is bad because it messes with stats and records and that, unlike what he did, what Ryan Braun and the PED cheats have done would “piss off Babe Ruth” and other milestone holders.
Like we’ve said a lot around here, I’m pretty sure that’s what angers people about the PED stuff the most. And what makes people consider PEDs to be a bigger problem in baseball than other sports, even though it’s not at all clear that that is the case. And even though it’s probably the least significant thing about PEDs in baseball.
But the quote I like the most is this one:
“If baseball wants to get you, they’ve got enough resources and enough investigators that they’ll find a way to get you.”
He knows, obviously.
But if you read this whole interview you get the sense that Rose is not merely making a passive observation about the investigative power of MLB. You get the sense that he’s trying to float a narrative about what he did vs. what the PED guys have done which puts him in a better light and maybe, just maybe, gets baseball to think about his case again.
I bet, after a lot of baseball writers get a crack at Rose in Cooperstown over the next three days, we’ll see that argument being made.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.