Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rewrite

I’m still not sure if it was a question or a statement, but the tone was clearly angry.

“Who cares about Pete Rose…”

I decided to take it as a question.

“I care about Pete Rose.”

I didn’t always. I was disappointed with him after his ban for gambling and there was a time when I was angry, too.

But that anger has passed. How can you stay mad at a guy who played like that?

Barreling, diving, sliding, slashing and running like he was being chased by a pack of hungry wolves.

How could a player like that be expected to slip seamlessly into the shadows? Baseball exploited Rose’s compulsiveness and his competitive nature and then turned off the lights.

I’m sure he did his best. He certainly didn’t gamble for the money. He just wanted to play. To drive a ball in the gap and run the bases like he did at 21 and 31 and 41.

How could we not have compassion?

Rose belongs in baseball. You can debate his position, but not his place in the game.

Pete Rose, the perfect ballplayer, turned out to be anything but a perfect person. That makes him just like the rest of us, minus the perfect ballplayer stuff.

He deserves respect and a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He deserves forgiveness and all the support this game can give. And he deserves it now.

No one can rewrite history, but there is always time to correct injustice.

1 comment:

Mathew said...

I was just a kid when Pete Rose was on the tail end of his career (I started really becoming a baseball fan in '84 with the Tigers) but I remember thinking how amazing he was and how hard he pushed.

When you have people like Bonds getting every official benefit of the doubt and weak shrugs when questions are raised to management, it seems amazingly unjust that Rose is kept outside the game he gave up any vestiges of a normal life for.

Amazing.