Pete Rose: “I’m a firm believer that baseball is a better sport if I’m in it”

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Personally, I would love to see a list of Pete Rose’s “firm beliefs.” I imagine they begin with “never count your money when you’re sitting at the table, there’ll be time of enough for counting when the dealing’s done” and sort of devolve from there, but a man does have to have a code. Good on ya, Hit King.

The quote from the headline comes courtesy of this Tyler Kepner article about Rose in the New York Times. A lot of it is the pretty standard Pete Rose rebop we’ve come to know and love: he made mistakes, he’s a good boy now, if he got one more chance he’d make the most of it and help to teach young players about the game, etc.

Like I said a few weeks ago, it would not shock me if Bud Selig gave Rose a pardon as he walked out the door in January. But if he does so, it won’t be because of anything Rose himself has had to say. It’ll be all about Selig giving a gift to fans, most of whom still hold Rose in high esteem. Maybe even higher esteem because of his banishment than they would have had for him if he had managed into the 1990s or longer.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.