Pete Rose’s last, best hope to rejoin the good graces of Major League Baseball have been dashed. And with the decision, Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred have taken hypocrisy to a new level.
When Manfred stepped into the commissioner’s office, there was hope that a fresh set of eyes would lead to Rose’s reinstatement in baseball. But now, a full 26 years after Rose was banned, Manfred and company join the ranks of those who piously warn about the “integrity” of baseball and use that as an excuse to keep one of the game’s greatest on the sidelines.
We’re not sure what game Manfred has been watching, but for him to cite the integrity of the game is almost laughable.
Barry Bonds is coaching major league players today even though he made a mockery of baseball’s most sacred record, hitting more home runs than anyone while, by all accounts, he was juiced on steroids.
Same goes for Mark McGwire, who is still on the field coaching despite his well-publicized use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Alex Rodriguez is still playing for the Yankees and pursuing the home run record despite his admission that he used drugs to improve his performance.
Mr. Commissioner, haven’t these players damaged the integrity of baseball?
And then there’s MLB’s ludicrous endorsement of gambling itself, through its sponsorship of popular sites like Draft Kings. Draft Kings is a gambling website where you can bet thousands of dollars on one-day fantasy baseball games. Major League Baseball is an official partner.
Mr. Commissioner, doesn’t this say something about the integrity of baseball?
New York’s attorney general has declared Draft Kings to be an illegal gambling site. But Manfred turns a blind eye to it, telling The Sporting News, “I'm comfortable with the idea that it's not gaming."
Excuse me? You’re comfortable with that “idea”? Odds are you’re comfortable with the idea of making all that money from online gambling.
If Draft Kings isn’t gaming, what is it?
Sure, Rose screwed up. What he did was stupid and he made it worse by lying about it.
But he has apologized many times over. And 26 years is more than enough punishment. His records speak for themselves. The hometown boy will always be one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Manfred and baseball had an opportunity to recognize that and to bring some redemption to a 74-year-old guy who played baseball harder than anyone before or after him.
But they blew it. And there’s no integrity to that.