As if there already weren’t enough reasons to spring Pete Rose from the baseball slammer after 33 years, here’s the latest, and it’s as plain as rolling snake eyes.
Did you hear the same Major League Baseball outfit that banned Rose for life courtesy of his gambling habits is allowing Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies to endorse a bookmaker in the United States?
Free Pete, indeed.
Let’s start with MLB expanding its deal last summer with DraftKings, the official daily fantasy (OK, gambling) partner of the sport.
Along those lines, the Washington Nationals combined with BetMGM in January at Nationals Park to become the first Major League franchise to have a retail sportsbook associated with its stadium. That happened after the Nationals and DraftKings launched an app last June after they signed a multiyear contract.
According to frontofficesports.com, the Nationals reported in July a handle of $643,498 and $148,796 in revenue after the app’s first full month.
The Cubs followed Washington’s lead. They formed a partnership last fall with DraftKings to construct a sportsbook within Wrigleyville, and the whole thing is slated to happen outside of the right-field walls of the Friendly Confines that features ivy vines, baseball history and betting slips on the way.
Darren Rovell of The Action Network reported this DraftKings setup could net the Cubs $100 million for “nearly a decade.”
So, remind us again: Why is Rose permanently banned from the Major Leagues — you know, despite his record 4,256 hits, 17 trips to the Baseball All-Star Game, 1973 National League Most Valuable Player Award, three NL batting titles and three World Series rings?
“I just came up at the wrong time,” Rose told USA Today Thursday. Then the 81-year-old Cincinnati native thought about his 24 years in the Major Leagues (including 19 with the hometown Reds), before he focused on the end of his playing days, which came after the 1986 season. “I was 30 years too early,” Rose said, and his response was mostly correct.
Here was the incorrect part: If the Rose of back then was the Rose of right now, he still would have been punished for gambling on baseball.
Just not as harshly.
Rose spent three seasons with the Reds as player-manager before he retired from the field. Then he served as only the team’s manager for the following three years until August 24, 1989. That’s when he officially was nailed by MLB cops for betting on Major League games (including on his Reds) while managing, which violated what always has been the game’s unpardonable sin.
According to Rule 21: “Betting on Ball Games, Any player, umpire, or club, or league official, or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
As for the mostly correct part of Rose’s statement to USA Today, consider the following: During the 102 years from Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox gambling scandal through just before the ink dried on MLB’s contract with DraftKings, baseball often had a solid case for putting somebody like Peter Edward “Charlie Hustle” Rose behind its bars.
Then the game went from mostly peanuts, hotdogs and Cracker Jack to the inclusion of DraftKings, BetMGM and Charlie Blackmon.
Rose told Sportico’s Barry M. Bloom he has “no problem with what Charlie’s doing,” and then Rose added, “There’s nothing illegal in that, is there? It’s just the perception, like when I was caught. I just came along at the wrong time. I made a mistake, and I paid for it. I bet on my own team to win. If I was around today, nobody would think anything of it.”
Well, courtesy of The Rose Situation, MLB would have amended Rule 21, and the Rose of 2022 likely would have gotten only a suspension for what triggered a lifetime ban for the Rose of 1989. That suspension would have kept him eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, which he later would have entered.
Instead, the Rose of 1989 remains barred from Cooperstown due to his banishement from the sport, and that Pete Rose also is the poster guy for baseball’s hypocrisy regarding gambling.