Do the Hustle
Fourteen years away from the game that defines Pete Rose is enough.
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By John Donovan
Pete Rose has been a lot of things in his lifetime. Scoundrel. Gambler. Fighter. And, yes, a heck of a baseball player. Now, after the confessions in his new autobiography, we can add one more entry on that list: liar.
Of course, a lot of people figured that one out already.
If you're feeling betrayed these days, if it seems as if that magic carpet you've been standing on suddenly has been jerked from under your feet, if you're feeling downright hoodwinked by the Hit King ... well, sorry. Waking up is hard to do.
The surprise here, for anybody, shouldn't be that Rose bet on baseball, or even that he bet on his own team as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. John Dowd pretty much scooped Rose's book on that.
The surprise, especially for those wearing Rose-colored specs, is that he's confessed to it. Rose is a stubborn guy. It's one of his finer attributes. It helped him hang around the big leagues long enough to beat Ty Cobb's hit record. To see him humble himself now is so un-Rose like. It's like seeing him walk to first or slide softly into third. It's like seeing him with a good haircut.
Still, even Rose's mea culpa has its seamy underside. He's confessing, of course, because he wants something. He wants back into baseball and confessing, now, probably is the only way he'll get there.
The fact is, we knew he bet on baseball. We knew he lied about it. Now we're left to decide what Bud Selig must decide. And that is this: Has Rose paid his penance?
The answer is yes. Fourteen years away from the game that defines him is enough. Rose -- yes, even Rose the Liar -- deserves reinstatement.