Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On a Train Bound for Nowhere...

I am not a regular listener of Michael Kay's radio program on 98.7 FM in New York.  On the afternoon of April 23, 2015 however, I did happen to listen to Kay's interview with Pete Rose.  Rose was on-air to discuss his application for reinstatement to Major League Baseball and the announcement that the new Commissioner, Rob Manfred, had made earlier that day concerning Rose being permitted to participate in activities connected with this year's All-Star Game, which shall be played in Cincinnati.  

During the interview, Kay asked Rose whether he had ever placed a bet while he was still playing Major League Baseball.  It was a fair question to be sure, given that Rose spent a decade and a half claiming that then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti had unfairly blackballed him in 1989 when he banned Rose from MLB for life while also denying over and over that he had ever placed a bet while he was managing the Reds, the infraction that merited his lifetime ban.  It was not until 2004, when Rose wrote a book - and stood to make money off of his disclosure - that Rose admitted to having placed bets on baseball while the Reds' manager.  

It appears as if baseball's rubber-band man and his elastic relationship with the truth has once again been less than forthcoming.  ESPN broke the story yesterday on its Outside the Lines program that documents which had been protected from disclosure since 1989 (so that they were not available to MLB to review when Rose's lifetime ban was handed down and were not among the evidence upon which MLB relied in punishing Rose), confirmed that Rose did in fact bet on baseball while he was still a player.  And not merely on one or two occasions either.  

Whether this means that Rose's chance of getting reinstated by MLB while he is still among the living has now disappeared I know not.  Frankly, I do not care very much whether he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.  I know simply that should this disclosure prove to be true, it shall serve to reinforce what to me at least has - in my experience - proven to be true far more often than not:  Human beings are animals.  Animals are creatures of habit.  Human beings rarely, if ever, change.  

If these new allegations prove to be true, then Rose shall have revealed himself, in my eyes anyway, to be a rather ordinary human, his achievements on the baseball diamond notwithstanding. Nothing more. Nothing less.  As the great Oscar Wilde once observed, "No man is rich enough to buy back his past."  A lesson that, once again, Rose appears to be positioned to learn.  Truth be told, thus far he has proven to be a glacially slow study.  

And worse than that, he apparently has been proven yet again to be an atrociously bad gambler.


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