Monday, March 19, 2007

Tragedy Rose

“Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald never wrote a truer line.

“Peter Edward Rose.”

Baseball never produced a truer player.

He wasn’t the fastest or the strongest or the slickest, but no one gave more to the game.

His accomplishments are staggering: baseball’s career leader in hits (4,256), singles (3,215), at-bats (14,053), and games played (3,562); National League Rookie of the Year, National League MVP, World Series MVP, two-time Gold Glover, three-time World Series Champion, three-time National League Batting Champion, and 17-time All-Star.

Rose was obsessive. Before bed as a child, he would take 100 swings from the left and 100 swings from the right. He rode his compulsions to the Major Leagues as Charlie Hustle.

Team owners made billions before kicking him to the curb. They say he compromised the integrity of the game and have denied him a rightful spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That is the type of integrity you get from people who wallow in money from casino ads and lottery promotions. Last week, while Rose was on the radio coming clean about betting his team to win every night, the Minnesota Twins were announcing their new “Twins Scratch Game” lottery tickets.

Baseball’s treatment of Rose is disgraceful. For all his faults, he has remained truer to the game than any of those who stand against him.

It’s time for baseball to rewrite this tragedy.


Ben said...

I don't know where I stand on Rose. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't use the words "Rose" and "tragedy" in the same sentence -- unless I were discussing his "tragic flaw," in the Shakespearean sense. Last year I walked past him in a Vegas casino, where he was signing copies of his book. He looked small. He didn't smile. I walked away as quickly as I could.

Todd Drew said...

I guess we are on different sides of this issue because I can’t mention Pete Rose without thinking about tragedy. We all have tragic flaws, but usually are lives aren’t ripped apart by them.

Most of what you saw in that casino is a product of Major League Baseball’s heartless decision to cut a man off from his life and his livelihood and provide no support.

Ben said...

I don't know. I also grew up watching him and respect his fire. I was less disturbed by his gambling than by his lying and self-righteous sense of entitlement. The reason why I'm on the fence is that I think it's fine to make the Hall of Fame about on-field accomplishment and not character. But I also think it's possible to question his character without taking the owners' side in this. Sure, lift the ban and let baseball sort it out, but don't hold him up as a model, when there are so many better men in the game.

Todd Drew said...

Your opinion is valid, I just don’t agree. I find it hard to judge another person’s character because I can’t possibly know what they’ve gone through or are dealing with. As far as lying: Everyone has lied. As far as a self-righteous sense of entitlement: I don’t feel Rose has acted like that. He’s just one more guy doing the best he can with what he’s got.

I am certainly not holding him up as a model, but he has been treated unfairly.

Maybe we’re both right on this.

Ben said...

Maybe so. I certainly believe in forgiveness. I've just detected more anger than contrition from Rose. But maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, it's just a matter of time before he's reinstated. Then we'll see how he handles his next act.

Mark Serio said...

Rose's on the field exploits, have never been questioned.It's his long history of off the field,self-serving deception that have made him infamous.

I take issue with using the phrase 'coming clean' and Rose in the same sentence. That has never happened.

Todd Drew said...

I think you are treating a person like an icon. Pete Rose is as clean as the rest of us.

Mark Serio said...

Todd,I'm not judging or putting down Rose,just reviewing the facts. For the record,I believe he should be in the Hall, with a plaque that documents his stellar career,and nefarious behavior. He made choices,had lawyers negotiate for him,knew how to manipulate. After decades,of high-profile success, he is experiencing the other side of the coin.