Quit posturing. Quit pontificating. Quit fornicating around, you self-righteous dunderheads. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame as soon as possible. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame today. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame retroactively and claim you had him there all along. Where else are you turkeys who run baseball, as well as you who vote on such matters, going to put a guy who has 4,256 hits? How many other people on the planet have ever had that many? How many hits do you have? Get real. Get off your asses. Hustle to publicly admit you ain’t no Charlie Hustle.
Don’t bother making your millionth pious statement that Rose can’t be in the sacrosanct Hall of Fame because he bet on baseball while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds. That’s irrelevant. When he was a player he (evidently) didn’t bet on baseball. That’s it. He retired as a player, and it is as a player that he must be honored. What he did later should not be an issue. If Rose had stayed out of baseball and five years later inevitably been a landslide winner on the first ballot into the Hall of Fame, then subsequently robbed a bank, would he be removed from the Hall? Probably not.
Don’t make an easy issue painful. There’ll be plenty of discomfort for everyone when you have to tell Rose, who continues to agonize and yearn on the fringes of baseball, that under no circumstances will he ever be permitted to manage again in the major leagues. That’s a different and far more serious issue. A man obsessed with gambling, a clinically ill ex-manager with a self-destructive urge to wager on his sport, cannot be trusted in that position again. That would be like putting an alcoholic in charge of the bar. And the alcoholic analogy is absolutely appropriate, especially since Rose has often proudly proclaimed he isn’t an alcoholic or drug addict. That’s right. He’s a gambling addict, a compulsive and out of control placer of bets who doesn’t come close to understanding that his insistence on continuing to wager on horse racing is like an alcoholic whiskey drinker saying everything’s okay now because he only drinks beer. It’s really quite sad. This master of hitting and athletic discipline, this legend for all time, is so lacking in insight that he’s squandering his only long shot – oh, that gambling parlance – to someday return to baseball in some limited capacity, perhaps as a spring training batting instructor. He’d rather bet on ponies.
Pete Rose, if you were in a batting slump right now, you’d examine your swing, you’d take more batting practice, you’d study the pitchers more closely. You’d aggressively go after what you want and need. This game isn’t so different. You need to examine your swing in a psychologist’s office. You should hit some balls at Gamblers Anonymous meetings. You should study the characteristics of the ailment that’s throwing balls at you and that you can’t hit. Learn about the one opponent you haven’t been able to beat.
And if you do that, then people will allow themselves to accept your thus far unconvincing assertions of sorrow and regret.