Rose, in New Book, Admits Betting on His Team: After denying for 14 years that he had bet on baseball, Pete Rose admits in a new book that he did, thus setting in motion a process that may win him reinstatement to baseball and election to the Hall of Fame. Rose, major league baseball's career leader in base hits, makes the admission in a 322-page autobiography entitled "My Prison Without Bars" (Rodale Press), in which he also acknowledges betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds, although never against them.
Whether the admission will be enough to persuade Commissioner Bud Selig to let Rose back into baseball remains to be seen. Selig has told associates that he is looking for contrition as well as a confession from Rose, and while Rose does say in the book that it is time for him to take responsibility for his actions, the apologetic words stretch only so far and are, at times, overshadowed by the feistiness for which he was famous as a player. "I'm sure that I'm supposed to act all sorry or sad or guilty now that I've accepted that I've done something wrong," he says in the epilogue of the book, a copy of which was purchased yesterday in a Chicago bookstore; it is scheduled to be released on Thursday. "But you see, I'm just not built that way. Sure, there's probably some real emotion buried somewhere deep inside. And maybe I'd be a better person if I let that side of my personality come out. But it just doesn't surface too often. So let's leave it like this. . . . I'm sorry it happened, and I'm sorry for all the people, fans and family that it hurt. Let's move on."
You know, this whole publicity circus has been a fascinating study in watching someone publicly shoot themselves in the foot, while simultaneously knowing that they're doing so and being completely and totally unable to stop doing it. Leave aside the fact that the confesssion is years too late. The fact remains that it's essentially a paid confession, and the one thing the Commissioner has demanded -- contrition -- is apparently nowhere in evidence. Baseball officials, for once, also raise a perfectly reasonable question when they ask what's to keep Rose from betting on baseball again. The answer, "I know what you're thinking: If we let you back into baseball, Pete, what's to stop you from gambling again? Listen: There hasn't been a day in my life when I didn't regret making those bets. I wish I could take it all back, but I can't. What's done is done." is wholly inadequate; regretting the past doesn't necessarily prevent future behavior. The fact that he also doesn't see why his gambling problem made such a difference would indicate that baseball probably has no reason to reinstate him; all he sees is that this brouhaha is preventing him from reaching the Hall of Fame, and from being a manager again. As long as his focus is that narrow, baseball certainly has no reason to reinstate him. Selig may or may not be a fair man as commissioner -- the debate is certainly ongoing on that score -- but even the fairest of people would have to conclude that Rose has not only not made his case, but may have done it some damage with this book.Posted by iain at January 06, 2004 09:55 AM