These are all instances that will cause Rose's fans to prop him up as a victim, to make the case that baseball's all-time hit king is getting a bum rap and deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
The logic goes like this: If a guy who uses PEDs gets caught and only gets a 50-game suspension (not even a third of a season), then should Rose be banned for life for gambling?
Well, Rose himself put that thinking in even stronger terms in a new interview with radio station 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh. In short: He says if he were a drinker, drug-user or wife-beater, he'd get a second chance.
"I made mistakes. I can’t whine about it. I’m the one that messed up and I’m paying the consequences. However, if I am given a second chance, I won’t need a third chance. And to be honest with you, I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating up my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance. They haven’t given too many gamblers a second chances in the world of baseball.”
It's not a new thought — there are many baseball pundits out there would tell you that DUIs among ballplayers are a more dire issue than PEDs. But Rose saying such a thing so boldly makes him sound like a guy whose found a slightly cracked window to try to push himself through. Later in the interview, Rose said he'd be the "happiest guy in the world" to get into the Hall of Fame, but that isn't what he's praying for before bed each night.
Another interesting topic raised was Rose's friendship with A-Rod, public enemy No. 1 in the Biogenesis case with that looming 211-game suspension. Though Rose said he and A-Rod are pals, Rose also said he'd advise other players not to do like A-Rod did (or like he himself did) — don't lie.
“The last time I texted Alex is when (Yankees GM) Brian Cashman told him to keep his bleeping mouth shut and play baseball. I met Alex more than a year ago. He was wrong, there’s no question about it. He talks about old timers in baseball. He talks about Clemente and Aaron. He loves this history of the game. I think he’d be the first one to tell you he screwed up. And if he doesn’t, he’s not telling you the truth. My advice to anybody listening is don’t do like I did, don’t do like Alex did or do what Braun did. Don’t do like any of those guys did. Don’t lie if you are confronted about something that you made a mistake. The faster you come clean the better of you are going to be."
The image of Rose and A-Rod as pals is an interesting one, don't you think? Baseball's black sheep of one generation befriending the black sheep of a new generation. Heck, A-Rod and his Biogenesis buds might actually be making Rose look better by contrast — at least in the court of public opinion.
That might not be enough to get Rose back into baseball, but it will give fans enough reason to keep sticking up for him.
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