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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of January 7 - 13, 2004


Say no to Rose

Pete Rose, baseball’s career base hit leader, should not be elected to the Hall of Fame, not this year, not next year, not ever.

Ending 14 years of denials, Rose admitted in a new book released this week that he bet on baseball when he was managing the Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s.

The rule against gambling is a sacred tenet of baseball, dating back to the Black Sox scandal 85 years ago, when Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned for life for something less flagrant than Rose.

If players and coaches bet on the teams, fans can never be certain if what they are seeing is a true contest of larger-than-life athletes, or stage plays in which unknowing fans star as the suckers being fleeced.

It’s easy to forget ordinary fans—the dads, the moms, the kids—who spend hard-earned cash on expensive big league tickets. They’re the same ones corporate sponsors and advertisers spend big bucks trying to reach with televised messages about their products in between innings. Yet, even though fans are the lynchpin of professional baseball, corporate skyboxes, endorsement contracts and multi-million dollar salaries too often overshadow them.

Money has soaked big league sports to the point that it’s sometimes hard to remember that baseball is an honorable game of skill and cunning.

Rose forgot that. He wants fans and his fellow players to forget it, too. He wants forgiveness for human frailty and a key to the Hall of Fame.

But he’s still making excuses. He says he should have gotten treatment offered to alcoholics and drug addicts, instead of derision. Perhaps, but the fact remains that inside gamblers are arguably a bigger threat to baseball than addicts or alcoholics.

Rose insists he never bet against his own team. Yet, after his years of denial, how can anyone believe him?

Rose was a great player no one will soon forget. Even so, his confession shouldn’t be the key that unlocks the door that should be barred to him forever.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.