Saturday, December 14, 2002

Now, Brought to you by the fine folks at Clem's House of Griddle Cakes and Cider:

An Ill-informed and unthought-about opinion by Big Stupid Tommy

Here's why Pete Rose will get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, sooner rather than later:

Because Allan "Bud" Selig is such a media dumbass, he will want to do whatever he can to try and lighten his image. In the past 10 years, the NBA and the NHL, and to an extent the NFL have become much more fan-friendly than good old Major League Baseball. The Strike in 94 was the start. But such little things as prohibitive television contract, televising national games to where the run late at night, letting the players run the asylum, letting the 2002 All Star Game end in a tie have combined with rising ticket costs and increased inaccessibility of the fans to the game.

The fans of the game stayed away quite a bit in 2002, shying away from both stadium and TV, come the post season.

Baseball, I think, is starting to notice the fact that dwindling fan support means fewer dollars.

USA Today had a poll in which 86 percent of those responding favored Pete either being reinstated completely, or at least let into the Hall.

ESPN's poll had a few more conditions, such as whether he should admit gambling on baseball, but the overwhelming majority of those responding (and the sheer number responding was remarkable) supported Rose in his attempts to be reinstated.

What I see is this. The majority of baseball fandom wants Pete Rose to be recognized officially for his accomplishments. I think Major League Baseball, in what is perhaps a shortsighted move, will go ahead and readmit Pete. It's good press.

Don't get me wrong. I think Pete deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I'd like seeing him enshrined there, one day. He's just one of the greats. That's all there is to it.

Here's my problem. Pete signed a piece of paper saying that he would accept a lifetime ban. He signed it. Word has come out that he signed it with a private understanding with Bart Giamatti that in a year's time, he would be up for review.

Of course, Bart died 9 days later.

My problem is Pete trying to get back in the game after he signed a contract saying he wouldn't. If it was so important to him to be a part of the game, maybe he shouldn't have signed.

Or maybe he shouldn't have gambled on baseball. Which he did, I'm fairly sure.

Here's what I support: Recognize him in the Hall, but don't let him back in baseball.

What's more, quit using him. A couple of years back, when they recognized the Greatest Players, Pete was allowed back on the field (the same night Jim Grey ambushed him). This past year's World Series, they honored the greatest plays. They let Pete back in for that.

Quit using him. Give the man his due as a player. But quit using him.

I contradict myself, I'm sure. But I'm really quite sleepy.


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