A recent Sports Illustrated article promoting Kostya Kennedy’s book, “It’s Time to Rethink Pete,” promotes the argument that the steroid users currently being denied entry in the Baseball Hall of Fame give Pete Rose a newfound credit for entry. That Pete Rose’s transgressions pale in comparison. The cover of this week’s SI has a picture a young Pete Rose in his prime looking as gritty and strong as he was with the “Big Red Machine” from the early to mid-1970s. The headline reading, “The Dilemma.”
Now throughout this article it becomes painfully obvious that author is trying to make you feel sorry for Pete Rose. And who doesn’t, in my opinion? This man was a fantastic ballplayer that set an almost unreachable milestone. He played the game with such passion and love that it is just painful that the he is not in the Hall of Fame. Now that we see some sympathy given towards players that ‘manipulated themselves’ to cheat the game, Rose’s circumstance, while managing, doesn’t seem as impactful. This is a fact that I strongly agree with in reference to Pete Rose, however, it will not change my stance of ‘deny entry’ towards Pete Rose.
Put simply, the Commissioner’s Office was born out of the need to enforce the very thing that Pete Rose involved himself in. If Bud Selig were to grant entry to Pete Rose, upon his resignation from the office, then he will go down as the worst Commissioner in history. If not already after being totally oblivious to an entire era of drug use in the game? Now I don’t want to crush Bud Selig to pieces as he has made some good decisions (i.e. eventually replay, playoff format), but enforcing corruption in the game is the Commissioner’s primary job. That is a fact. If they can’t, or won’t, do this then what is their purpose? Rule changes etc. can always be made as a collective.
Sorry Pete, Barry, Roger, Mark and Sammy that is the way it has been since the aftermath of 1919. Corrupt men that preceded this date are only in due to a technicality (i.e. Cobb).
Anyway, back to the SI article. It made me feel bad for Pete Rose, it really did. However, that is a familiar feeling and it doesn’t constitute much of a dilemma for baseball. Their stance is well establish and rightfully so. The article references Barry Larkin’s Hall of Fame speech that credited Pete Rose, “You know it … Pete Rose, 4,256 of them. That’s right.” Rose has his glory in the record books if anyone needs a reminder of his greatness. I’d say that is a pretty good consolation to not making the Hall.
Kennedy, Kostya. “The Pete Problem.” Sports Illustrated, March 10, 2014.
So often now we have the opporitunity to once again bring up the steriod issue. As a baseball fan, I’m honestly sick of it. I dream of the day that it will go away, but it won’t for now, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts. Baseball is pure, steriods in baseball is not, the two need to be separated. That has basically been my main position on the steriod issue.
The other day my mom and I were brainstorming on “how we can make the baseball world fair after so many great players have now fallen to steriod use?” My mom said, “that they should just have a separate room in the Hall of Fame for the steroid users.” I laughed at first, but the more I thought about it, I agreed that that “would make everything ethically fair!” No question that since a large number of players have used, a large number of players have already been caught using and a large number of players get away with using even today, that these players need to be separated from others who chose not to use the drug. The moral justification for taking steriods has been debated. Arguments such as: (wouldn’t any player naturally want to do whatever they could to get an edge on the competition? or wouldn’t players of the past have taken them as well, if they could?) The merits of these arguments are often challenged and usually defeated by the fact that steriods tarnish the efforts of great players that have come before them, they add an unfair element to the accomplishments of players that chose not to take steriods and they pose a dangerously unhealthy message to youth. They are harmful, disgraceful, dangerous, unfair and universally bad. Yet, the implications of having these labels attached to the players that take them are not acknowledged to the degree in which they should be. One day they might?
If McGwire, Clemens, Sosa, Arod, and Bonds make the Hall of Fame, they will not be remembered for the players that they were, they WILL however, be remember for taking steriods. It is just a fact. They are the “champions of the steroid era.”
The only way baseball can, and ethically should get over this, is to acknowledge it. The same comparisons can be made to the 1919 Black Sox, or even Pete Rose. Cheating is cheating, no matter which way you look at it.
Putting a ‘steroid room’ in the Hall of Fame is a way that these players can be held separate, yet still acknowledged that they actually existed. They were here, they did exist. Most people would want to give these players at least that. A strange and laughable thought to make a separate room in the Hall, yet might be a solid ethical solution?? I wonder what the room might look like for Arod????