The International Writers Magazine -REALITY CHECK with James
ANY OTHER NAME
Pete Rose 14 Years Too Late
brand new year rings in a spanking new Non-Story Story: Pete Rose
publicly admits to something his signature admitted to 14 years
ago; he placed bets on Major League Baseball games, many of which
of his vehement denials since, it was that signature which effectively
ended his association with the only profession hed known. A more
incriminating piece of evidence for his crime is hard to fathom.
But we needed to hear it from him, didnt we. All the while it
was "as long as Rose admits to it, he will be forgiven, allowed
back into the game and eligible for the long-awaited trip to baseballs
Hall of Fame." Inexplicably we were supposed to believe that it
was Roses obstinate claims of "innocent victim" that
made him the games villain, not compromising the integrity of
his sport by blatantly ignoring Rule 21 in the first place.
Prominently displayed in both English and Spanish on every Major League
Baseball clubhouse door, it states: "Any player, umpire or club
or league official or employee who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon
any baseball games in connection with which the bettor has a duty to
perform shall be declared permanently ineligible." And so now 14
years later The Non-Story Story finally ends The Pete Rose Betting On
Baseball Controversy, which was only a controversy for Rose, those on
his payroll, the sycophantic nerds who chant "Charlie Hustle!"
over reams of incriminating evidence, and hordes of sports media drones
who despise baseballs all-time hit king regardless.
Oh, and by the way, this latest Non-Revelation Revelation is presented
in Roses new autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars",
(his third such attempt) excerpts of which now appears everywhere.
To wit: --"Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball," Rose told commissioner
Bud Selig during a meeting in November 2002 about Rose's lifetime ban.
"How often?" Selig asked.
"Four or five times a week," Rose replied. "But I never
bet against my own team, and I never made any bets from the clubhouse."
"Why?" Selig asked.
"I didn't think I'd get caught."
Only Pete Rose, the most pathetically unabashed self-promoting memorabilia
monger alive would finally admit to something any clear-thinking human
has known for nearly 15 years in a format you have to purchase.
Pete Rose bet on baseball.
Everyone knows this. Jesus, my mother knows this and when not completely
ignoring it as a rule, considers baseball the pastime of slobbering
Sports Illustrated, which plasters this Non-Story Story all over its
cover this week printed betting slips next to dozens of witness testimonies
in its 8/31/89 issue. I know this because I kept that issue anxiously
waiting the inevitable day when this strutting ass would level his Clintonian
mia culpa for profit and a smooth entry into baseballs Hall of
And with two years left in his eligibility and a lucrative book deal
to hawk, Rose now blurts out what everyone already knew. The white elephant
lives! At this point you would not be wrong to ask: "If this is
such a Non-Story Story, why the hell are you writing about it?"
To which I might answer: "I assure you, the irony is not lost on
me." First of all, the truth is I have always hated Pete Rose.
From Ray Fosse to Buddy Harrelson to all that fabricated All-American
go-getter tripe, the way he abused one of the finest writers of my generation,
Roger Kahn in his last autobiographical swindle, "Pete Rose - My
Story" and the way his recalcitrant front man Gary Spicer ducked
me in an interview request with a series of parameters and time constraints
that eventually cost me money and pissed me off to no end.
Also, this particular Non-Story Story has been a favorite of mine since
embarking on my professional foray into sports reporting during the
1989 baseball season, during which I inadvertently uncovered that an
alarming number of people corroborated Roses frenzied gambling
and was more than eager to chat about it. It turns out, despite his
recent literary conciliation, Rose indeed used the clubhouse phone to
make bets on games in which he managed. And to a man (and woman) not
one of these people could believe for half a second that his managing
of those games was not affected by his having action on it, whether
or not it was on his own team or not. The way he set up his pitching
for the week, how he used his bullpen on "bet nights" and
everything in between. And this skewed idea that Rose floats in the
book that "baseball had no fancy rehab for gamblers like they do
for drug addicts" is specious simply because while drug abuse compromises
an individuals ability to play the game, gambling on a contest
you have stake in and control over compromises the integrity of the
game and cannot be ignored.
Gambling nearly destroyed professional baseball in 1919 and its no-toleration
policy is not only non-debatable, but also paramount for the business
survival. As my baseball guru, Pedro B. recently reminded me, you can
get away with just about anything in baseball, drug abuse, wife beating,
overt racism, public drunkenness, pitching perfect games on acid, illegal
campaign contributions and mob pay-offs, jacking yourself up on so much
steroids as to make the statistical bell curve, but YOU CANNOT GAMBLE
ON THE GAME.
But hey, I know the real story is that Rose is finally uttering the
words he swore he would never utter, and made a boisterous point everywhere
he could against uttering, trashing credible people like former baseball
commissioner, Fay Vincent and his investigator, John Down along the
merry way. And I know as well as anyone that smug liars sublimating
their considerable egos in front of talk-show hosts is the American
orgasm. We cant get enough of this shit.
So now commissioner, Bud Selig must decide if one of the all-time greats
of the game gets a pass after pissing on its most sacred rule and then
lying to anyone within earshot about it, because as pithy baseball columnist,
Bill Madden recently put it; "if this were some .220-hitting utility
infielder who bet on baseball we wouldn't be having this debate."
© James Campion
Readers Letters to James
Previously by James Campion on Hackwriters
More Lifestyles and Comment
all rights reserved