Getty Images

No, today’s decision on gambling has no bearing on Pete Rose

32 Comments

I didn’t think I’d even have to go into this, but enough people have brought it up that I feel like I should address it, so here goes:

No, today’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing sports gambling has no bearing whatsoever on Pete Rose, his eligibility or his Hall of Fame case. None. Zero. Zilch.

“But wait,” the Pete Rose dead-enders exclaim. “Now that it’ll be legal to bet on baseball, how can Major League Baseball continue to punish Pete Rose for betting on baseball?! It’s not fair! Free Charlie Hustle! Loud Noises!!”

Pete Rose was not banned from baseball because he broke the law. Even though, yes, he broke the law in all kinds of ways and did time for it and stuff, which Pete Rose supporters tend to gloss over. No, he’s banned from baseball because he broke baseball’s internal rules about gambling on baseball. Those rules still exist and will continue to exist, even if all 50 states legalize sports gambling. Just as your place of work can make rules against you doing various things that are otherwise legal, the body that controls anyone who might employ Pete Rose can make rules which are stricter than the bare minimum provided by a given state’s criminal law.

And make no mistake: nothing is going to change with Major League Baseball’s rules about gambling for players, coaches, umpires and team officials. As we’ve covered in detail, Major League Baseball is basing its claim for an “integrity fee” of 1% of gambling revenues on the idea that it needs to police its people more, not less, to keep games from being fixed and whatnot. As I’ve noted in those above links, that’s completely disingenuous bull crap on Major League Baseball’s part, but while it is lobbying to grab that cash, it will do nothing to make it look like it’s more comfortable with sports gambling than it used to be, especially reinstating its most notorious living gambling-associated figure.

“Hey,” the Rose dead-enders grumble. “That’s hypocritical! Major League Baseball cannot, on the one hand. insert itself into the business of sports gambling by taking a cut from the casinos while simultaneously acting holier than thou about its players gambling!”

I’m sympathetic to that view, but if you think that changes a thing you really, really, really need to become more familiar with Major League Baseball’s work when it comes to hypocrisy.

This is the same Major League Baseball which is run by self-proclaimed hardcore free market capitalist billionaires who insist upon taxpayer subsidies, state-sanctioned wage controls and anti-competitive state-sanctioned monopoly power. This is the same Major League Baseball which reaped the financial rewards of Chicks Digging the Longball in the Steroid Era and then scapegoated the players for ruining the game by using steroids. It’s the league that constantly laments the fact that young kids aren’t becoming baseball fans and then goes out of its way to keep young kids from watching their hometown baseball teams.

You think playing footsie with casinos while keeping Pete Rose out of the game is going to be morally or ethically difficult for Rob Manfred? Please. Rob Manfred will light cigars rolled in gambling slips instead of tobacco leaves with $100 bills issued directly from the casino cage instead of a matchstick while simultaneously lamenting all of the damage Pete Rose has done to the game and the need to keep him banned. He’ll do that and he won’t lose a second’s sleep over it.

I get it, folks. Many of you love Pete Rose. Or at least you love the cartoon character of grit-spitting, hustle-loving, gosh-darn-it-I-love-baseball Pete rose certain members of the media have helped conjure in your romantic little heads. And I understand that you want nothing more than to see him, I dunno, managing a team at age 77? Running the Reds’ analytics department? But it’s not happening. He’s not being reinstated and, because the Hall of Fame has agreed to not put anyone on a ballot if they’re banned from the game, he’s not getting in the Hall of Fame either. Certainly not while he’s living and probably not while I’m living.

Sorry to be so grouchy with you about it, but we’re going on ten years of people being irrational about Pete Rose around here and 30 years of people being irrational about Pete Rose in general, and I just felt I needed to be firm with you.

Now, let’s go have a catch, OK?

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

Getty Images
1 Comment

Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports