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Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The future of Pete Rose

ESPN's Outside the Lines reports on new evidence showing that Pete Rose bet on baseball, including games involving the Reds, while still an active player. Rose has admitted to betting on baseball, including on the Reds, while a manager from 1987-89, but he has never admitted (and in fact, expressly denied as recently as April) betting on baseball while a player. This all happens at an interesting time. In March, he submitted his latest petition for reinstatement, the first to be heard by new commissioner Rob Manfred, who some thought might be more receptive to the petition than his predecessors. In addition, the All-Star Game is in Cincinnati, and Rose was expected to play some role in the events, including acting as a commentator for Fox, suggesting at least a foot back in the game.

So how does/should this affect Rose's status?

On one hand, it should not make a difference. Baseball's Rule 21(d) does not distinguish between players and managers in declaring that anyone who bets on MLB games in which they have a duty to perform shall be placed on the permanently ineligible list. The lifetime ban was fully justified by his gambling (later admitted) while a manager; this new evidence of the same misconduct at a different time is not necessary to further justify the punishment. It long has been suspected that he did bet while a player, both because witnesses testified to that fact during the Dowd investigation (Dowd and company could not find documentary evidence to support the testimony) and because, as a matter of common sense, it seemed unreasonable to believe that Rose suddenly began betting on baseball games involving his team once he became a manager, but never before.

On the other hand, perhaps it might give Manfred basis to deny reinstatement on the ground that Rose has not been forthcoming and has not fully bared his soul and admitted the totality of his misdeeds. In other words, the old "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up"--Rose should remain on the ineligible list not because of his gambling (which was well-established before this report), but because he has lied to us, both by omission in 2004 and by commission, as recently as two months ago.

I admit to being a hard-liner when it comes to Rose--a lifetime ban is a lifetime ban and I never saw any justification for his reinstatement or for his inclusion in the Hall of Fame while still banned, especially simply because he confessed to doing the very thing that got him banned. The OTL piece might be beneficial in illustrating why MLB takes gambling so seriously. According to the newly discovered records, Rose was several hundred thousand dollars in debt (Dowd in the OTL piece calls it a "mortgage") to mob-connected bookies, perhaps placing himself in a position where he could be coerced into doing something to the detriment of the game.


I've never seen where the anti-betting people have an understanding of baseball betting. When you bet on baseball games, it's on a money line, not a straight up win/loss bet. When you bet on a team, you are just betting that the oddsmaker's estimate is wrong. A bet on the underdog just pays more than the favorite, if they win. The worst accusation from the betting that, when he didn't bet on the Reds - he was indicating they would lose - is wrong. It only means that he thought the odds weren't fair.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 6/23/2015 2:19 PM  

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