23 July 2007

Why don't we just put up the "for sale" sign on this country and be done with it?

In wake of reports about an NBA referee who is under FBI investigation shroud for gambling and allegations that the ref was making critical calls to purposefully affect the point spread result, the subject of Pete Rose and his gambling excursion came before me. And, recently, somebody vehemently argued to me that it was a crime that Pete Rose was not in the Hall of Fame already.

Now, yes, I am aware that a majority of baseball fans think what Rose did was no big deal, that now he's come clean and time is ripe for reinstatement. Pete Rose remains a hero, despite a double decade of deliberate deceit. He denied the charges, but then signed an agreement that he would not answer the charges and instead accepted permanent banishment.

The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode. One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts. By choosing not to come to a hearing before me, and by choosing not to proffer any testimony or evidence contrary to the evidence and information contained in the report of the Special Counsel to the Commissioner, Mr. Rose has accepted baseball's ultimate sanction, lifetime ineligibility.

Then Rose, in the aftermath, took the case public, writing a book that adamantly defended himself against the charges. A few years ago, he admitted to betting, but only on his own team.

How can anybody trust in anything Rose says, with all the evidence pointing to somebody who has been a slave to addiction, possibly even lying to himself? And consider the company he partnered with and may have enriched by doing managerial favors that didn't involve a deliberate game throwing episode? Rose has contended that he always bet his team, but the gentleman who authored the report that led to Rose's banishment from the game disagrees with assertions made by Rose that he bet on his team EVERY night.

The Dowd Report says Rose bet on the Reds 52 times in 1987. Each Major League Baseball team plays 162 games.

Dowd has said that when Rose didn't bet on the Reds, it was a signal to bookies that it might be a good night to bet on the Reds' opponent. That is why baseball's rules against betting draw no distinction between a principal in a game betting on his team or against it.

At the very least, even if Rose had been true to his present pronouncements, and only gambled on his own club, there still remains grave concerns over the integrity of the game. The absence of conditions that guarantee a "fair game" means every outcome is meaningless. Bottom line, he was in violation of Rule 21(d).

Read the unabridged Dowd Report (it is a lot of reading) or catch a summary evaluation at