August 24, 2009
You're likely going to feel the need for any or all of the above because it was 20 years ago to the very day that Pete Rose received a lifetime ban from commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti for betting on baseball.
"One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts," Giamatti said at the time.
Yes, it's been two long decades since Aug. 24, 1989, but in many ways it seems much longer when you consider that The Hit King's banishment has always remained one of baseball's hot-button topics — even through the strike and the steroids mess — and that it's been a rare year in which Rose didn't receive his share of headlines.
Whether it was Rose being pestered by Jim Gray at the 1999 World Series, finally fessing up to wrongdoing in the pages of a for-profit 2004 book or moving out to Vegas and becoming the Caesar's Palace version of Joe Louis, Rose has maintained a big and steady presence in the national consciousness.
Really, it's arguable that he wouldn't have been this visible had he just been inducted into Cooperstown, though we'll always be left to wonder how much longer he would have managed, if he would have ever tried to buy part of a team or even if the wagering would have spun further out of control and resulted in Rose being removed from the Hall.
We just did the whole Rose in the Hall debate last month, so it'd probably be a little repetitive to do so again. However, there's plenty of new Rose reading out there for you this morning, from Pete Rose Jr. asking Bud Selig for his father's reinstatement to Mike Schmidt saying that Charlie Hustle's punishment doesn't fit the crime and a Florida bar that proudly displays one of Rose's famous "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" autographed baseballs.
In four years, Rose will have served the same time in exile that he did as a player. Whether or not Selig eventually caves and issues him a pardon before then remains to be seen, but regardless of what happens, you can bet we'll see just a few more stories — and about 10,000 more bad gambling puns — focusing on everyone's favorite controversy.