Wednesday, July 9, 2008

DOH-mer Of The Week- A Rose by any other name

I’ve spent the last week watching the sports headlines surface, and one particular baseball story caught my eye. It was a story about homerun king Barry Bonds(*) and the controversy surrounding the record breaking homerun ball. Bonds wants it in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not with an asterisk. The owner of the ball was willing to donate it to the hall, but with an asterisk. The whole thing made me realize the stupidity of Major League Baseball's decision makers. And when I speak of this stupidity, I’m not speaking directly of Bonds(*) and his ball, though he is indirectly a part of this conversation.

Here we are in 2008, and people want a battle of the balls. That’s a minor issue, and an easy decision. But hey, what about Pete Rose? What is the expiration date for baseball stubbornness? How long will they keep one of the greatest hitters of all time out of the Hall of Fame, because he gambled on games? Sure, I understand that when the sentence was handed down, and he received that lifetime ban, the league was looking to protect the integrity of the game. But if you’re honestly in the business of protecting integrity, why the f**k is there even a debate or controversy over the homerun ball of BaROID Bonds(*)?

Did the DOH-mers not see the Mitchell report? Integrity is all but gone. How many future Hall of Famers on that list? How many league MVPs and Golden gloves? How many Cy Young award winners? Where is that damn integrity to protect, because I see nothing but an empty box?

Where was the integrity, when Gaylord Perry was inducted into the Hall? Perry’s claim to fame is “cheating”. Perry has an autobiography titled “Me and the Spitter”, meaning he's even cheating the English language, because we all know it should be "The spitter and I". Perry once approached the makers of “Vaseline”, looking to be their spokesperson! His former manager, Gene Mauch, once said, “He should be in the Hall of Fame with a tube of KY Jelly attached to his plaque”. And the list of cheaters doesn’t end With Perry, because Whitey Ford, another notorious cheater, is also in the Hall. What is our integrity lesson of the day? Cheaters are rewarded. Gamblers are punished.

Maybe it’s just because Rose doesn’t have the baseball clout. After all, a lifetime ban is exactly that, banishment for a lifetime. Yankees Boss, George Steinbrenner, was given a lifetime ban from baseball in 1990. And I then witnessed a modern day miracle, as Steinbrenner obviously died in ’93, and resurrected in the same year. Ban lifted! George begins his second life, so you can’t count the previous ban against him. Strangely enough, he’s reincarnated as the Yankees boss. What are the odds on that? Maybe I'll ask Pete if he went with the spread.

Why the hell are we quarreling over baseballs hit by steroid users? And why the hell does BaROID(*) feel he has any say in how the ball would be displayed? If it were up to me, I’d agree with him, and present it without the asterisk, but have a hypodermic needle hanging from the stitches.

Say what you want about Pete Rose and his gambling, but it’s obviously more of a personal issue between Rose and some of the baseball powers that be, than it is about integrity. Don’t bullsh*t me. Looking at some of the players the league has lined up for future induction, Mark McGwire(*), Rafael Palmeiro(*), and Roger Clemens(*), along with some players holding records, BaROID Bonds(*), Eric Gagne(*), and any other junkie I may have missed, it’s going to be a while before the league ever has a clean list for an induction year. Greg Maddux, Trevor Hoffman, and Tom Glavine will get in, but who will be their first ballot competition?

As we stand now, with the lack of integrity in the game, it will take over a decade to regain a clean image. Until that 5 year old corn fed slugger from the fields of Nebraska matures, and appears on a major league diamond, we’re left with the impurities and human pincushions of the sport. Without a doubt, with baseball now under the microscope and secrets exposed, now is the Time to give the public something long overdue, and celebrate the achievements of Pete Rose.

Allow Rose into the Hall, and stop staring at BaROID’s(*) balls.


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