Sorry, Charlie Hustle. Not yet. Not ever.

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Twenty years ago today, Pete Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball after it was proved he’d bet on the game. I just participated in a poll on LinkedIn that asked, “Do you think that Pete Rose’s ban from baseball should be lifted?” So far, I’m one of eight respondents, and I’m in the minority.  I voted no.

I added a comment, in response to the only other comment offered. It said: “How long should the Baseball Hypocrites hold onto this ‘Victorian moralist’ grudge?”

My response:

This isn’t about “Victorian moralism.” It’s an abject business decision.

Back when baseball really WAS America’s pastime, the Black Sox scandal threatened to destroy the game from loss of integrity. Commissioner Landis banned the participants for life to let the ticket-buying public know that cheating wouldn’t be tolerated. Pete Rose bet on his own team; there’s no excuse, and he should not be later rewarded by election to the Hall. It’s too bad, because none deserves it more in terms of sheer performance.

In my opinion, Major League Baseball needs a commissioner now like Landis, Bart Giamatti or Fay Vincent — one who’ll stand up to the owners, despite the fact they’re the folks who hired him or her. As long as one of the owners is “commissioner,” the current steroids scandal will surely obliterate the tiny sliver of relevance baseball has left.

Here’s a link to a short bio of Rose, should anyone need a memory refresher. And, for those who are on LinkedIn, here’s the poll thread.

I look forward to your comments.


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