Thursday, August 27, 2009

9 comments Karma Is a Bitch

I have talked at way too much length about Brett Favre, so I will make it short today. I almost feel like I am ESPN in the way I talk about him so much, but I have such a strong opinion on him and everything he does. That's why I keep talking about him.

Karma can be a bitch. For further proof that karma is a bitch comes the report that Brett Favre's newest retirement/unretirement has caused a problem in the Vikings locker room.

Sources with knowledge of the Vikings locker-room dynamics say some players believe Tarvaris Jackson gives the Vikings the best chance to win, while other players believe Sage Rosenfels gives the team the best chance to win -- which is one of the new twists to this storyline. In the words of one NFL source, Favre has "little support" in the locker room as Minnesota prepares for its Monday night preseason game against the Houston Texans.

That is pretty much the problem in a nutshell and is it really a surprise at all? Try to relate this to your personal life the best you can. Would you support a Brett Favre-type person who just arrives at your job one day (I know we are bloggers but someone has to have a job who reads this...maybe one person has one) and has things handed to him at work that many others had to work hard for? You would probably have harsh feelings towards this person. What shocks me the most is that Brad Childress did not expect this to happen.

Childress should actually be fired for thinking this quarterback bait-and-switch with the team could work. It's ridiculous. Tarvaris Jackson has been on the team for several years now and probably has built up some respect in the locker room for the way he has handled being yanked in and out of the starting lineup and the criticism he has received from fans and media alike. Sage Rosenfels has not been with the team for a long time but it seems like he has already received some respect from his teammates because they see him as a solid quarterback that could win games if given the chance.

All of a sudden a guy who wasn't with the team in July sweating through training camp and bonding with the team just waltzes into camp and four days later starts the second preseason game and never has to compete for the starting quarterback job. How are there not going to be ill feelings on the part of the Vikings players? Many of them had to work hard to get where they were and while they respect what Brett Favre was at one time, they don't respect how he acts and how he is treated like he is above competing for a starting job.

"I've seen the same reports you've seen," Childress said. "Those are opinions. It's hard to shoot holes in an opinion. It's just that -- an opinion. I certainly don't see it."

If Brad Childress doesn't see the locker room divided over this situation then he should be fired because it is obvious he has lost this team. He is the one who caused this situation and I don't think there is anything he can really do about it now. He can't bench Brett Favre at this point because Favre would pout like a three year old who got his favorite toy taken away, so he has to take the risk that Favre performs well and that earns Favre respect in the locker room...which would make the opposition to Favre starting settle down.

If Favre plays well, it's possible the issue could be silenced and the schism could evaporate.

The bottom line is that Brett Favre is going to throw a stupid interception this year, he is going to have a bad game or two and he probably is going to wear down at the end of the year. Every time Favre throws an interception the opposition to him is only going to strengthen. I don't think the fact the Vikings have an easy beginning to their schedule this year will help because those opposed to Favre being the starter will know Jackson or Rosenfels could have won those games also.

NFL players can respect players who compete and win a job, they can't respect a player who is given special treatment and feels like he is above the rest of those on the roster...which is how Brett Favre acts. Don't think the Vikings players haven't asked the Jets players from last year how Favre acts, they know already. Karma is a bitch and I am glad this move looks like it will blow up in Brad Childress and Brett Favre's face. It should happen that way because the world has a way of working itself out and eventually people end up getting treated the way they treat other people.

Brad Childress has been too focused on keeping his job and Brett Favre has been too focused on making sure he gets the proper revenge on the Green Bay Packers to care about the fact the rest of the members of the Vikings organization just want to win football games.

-Here is more of karma being a bitch. Finally those who seized and made public the list of 104 PED users from 2003 have been properly bitch slapped by a court.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said the players' union had good reason to want to keep the list under wraps, citing leaks of players purportedly on the list.

I am not advocating PED use and those names on the list are cheaters but that making any name on that list was a clear invasion of privacy. The MLB union only agreed to testing on the basis it was private and anonymous...neither of which ended up being true.

"The leaks were crimes," Peters said. "The people who committed the crimes should be investigated and punished."

Yes, though the victims in this situation were not completely innocent, they still had their privacy, invaded not only by the seizing of the list and test results, but also with the unlawful leak to the press. Who really thought the government could be trusted to keep the test results confidential anyway?

Karma didn't hit those who leaked the list of 104 names that hard in this case but at least there is now public recognition that although those people named on the list tainted the game of baseball, the public never had a right to know the names of any of those people on the list. On and on goes the neverending story of PEDs in baseball...

-The Pete Rose situation in baseball has caused a lot of different opinions when it comes to whether he should be in the Hall of Fame or not. I think he has caused many of his own problems by lying and never appearing to completely come clean about his gambling.

Jayson Stark seems to somewhat agree with me on this. He explains why he thinks Pete Rose will never be in the Hall of Fame. He also explains why Pete Rose has always, and will always reaps what he sows.

Twenty years ago Monday, I sat in that ballroom in Manhattan, listening to Bart Giamatti explain why he was banning "Mr. Rose" from baseball for life.

What people tend to forget is that Pete Rose agreed to this lifetime ban from baseball. He didn't fight it at the time and signed whatever documentation that needed to be signed in this case to agree to a lifetime ban from baseball.

But even if Selig somehow changes his mind, even if some future commissioner reopens this case, the living Hall of Famers who make up the Veterans Committee aren't ever electing Pete Rose. Ever.

It's sad that Pete Rose may never make the Hall of Fame because he is one of the better baseball players of the past 30 years, (not THE best or even the second best according to Peter King, that would be his one time teammate Johnny Bench), but Pete Rose caused this situation by gambling on baseball and never really coming clean about what he bet on.

These people haven't elected Ron Santo. Haven't elected Gil Hodges.

I believe they haven't been voted in because they do not deserve it. If you are going to elect Gil Hodges and Ron Santo, you may as well go ahead and elect Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and any other almost-elite player right behind these two. That's a completely different story from Pete Rose because Rose actually deserves to be in the Hall of Fame based on his performance on the baseball field, not based on the fact he played for a large market team and was an excellent player, but not one of the best ever. Yes, I am talking to you Ron Santo and Gil Hodges.

Me, personally? I would vote for Pete Rose -- Pete Rose the baseball player -- for the Hall of Fame. I try to remind people all the time that the Hall's a museum. It's not the Vatican. So I wouldn't nominate the Hit King for sainthood.

I am torn on this issue. There are cheaters, racists, and overall bad people recognized in the Hall of Fame for playing great baseball...despite the fact there is a character clause in the Hall of Fame language necessary for induction. So as a person, I don't really care if Pete Rose makes it or not.

Rose's situation is not a measure of whether he is a nice guy or not, it is a measure of whether he compromised his team's ability to win games by gambling and whether his gambling affected the way he played and managed the game. It goes to the integrity of baseball.

Sure, Gaylord Perry's blatant cheating got him in the Hall of Fame and I am sure there are other players who cheated and were honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sadly, the fact Gaylord Perry probably threw spitballs and other doctored pitches to the plate doesn't disturb as many people because he was doing that for the benefit of his team. In sports, cheating for your team, while still seen as cheating, is not considered nearly as bad as cheating/betting against your team.

When Gaylord Perry throws a spitball he is cheating, but he is also doing everything he can to make sure his team wins. When Pete Rose gambled on baseball as a manager, we don't know if that affected his team's chances of winning, so he very well could have been betting against his team. We would ask him, but he has lied so many times before and then later changed his story, there is no way we could believe him in my mind.

But it seems absurd to me that the man who got the most hits in the history of baseball doesn't have a plaque with his name on it in the ultimate baseball museum.

I have changed my mind on whether Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame several times. Right now, my mind has centered on the idea he doesn't deserve to make it. He accepted his lifetime ban from the game in return for Major League Baseball making no formal finding with regard to the allegations of gambling. He obviously deserves to make the Hall of Fame based on his statistics but he accepted his punishment 20 years ago that made him ineligible for the Hall of Fame today.

For me, it's not even about whether Pete Rose gambled or not, but the fact he denied it for a period of time and then eventually admitted he did gamble when he was trying to sell a book...that's what gets me. He has never been completely honest and has always tried to use his name as "The Hit King" to get the fan support on his side. I don't even believe him when he says he never bet against the Reds. John Dowd, the gentleman who led the investigation into Pete Rose in 1989, did not believe Pete Rose either when he said he did not bet against the Reds, but he had no proof so the report says there is no proof of Rose betting against the team he managed.

This thing Jayson Stark has about feeling odd the all-time hit king is not in the Hall of Fame is slightly annoying. I get a little tired of Pete Rose and everyone else talking about him as the all-time Hit King. It's tedious and annoys me. I am not arguing he is not the all-time hit king but when you look at the statistics for his career, he was in the top 10 in plate appearances and at bats nearly every year. He's a great hitter who got tons of plate appearances every year. I am not saying this to demean him, I am just commenting he played for a long time and was a great hitter. The hits record is really more about prolonged longevity and batting at the top of the order and there is nothing wrong with that. I just get tired of the media adding in he is the all-time hit king when talking about him.

I don't know why it annoys me when Rose refers to himself as "The Hit King," but it does. Here are some numbers I find as impressive. He had 19 straight years he walked more than he struck out, he wasn't just a singles hitter and had 746 career doubles and 136 career triples, and he had a career batting average of .303 and a OBP of .375. Those are good numbers as well. The "Hit King" thing to be is just a measure of longevity. He was a great hitter and stuck around long enough to get more base hits than anyone else in the history of Major League Baseball.

My friend Willie Weinbaum produced a brilliant piece on Rose for "Outside the Lines" this weekend. In the course of working on that piece, he had long, fascinating, startlingly candid conversations with both Schmidt and Morgan about how hard they worked to get Rose a face-to-face meeting with Selig in 2003.

As dumb as this may sound, this is another reason I don't think Pete Rose should make the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose has had chances to kiss ass, make amends and get back in baseball's good graces but constantly refuses to do so. If he doesn't want it bad enough to make amends, why should he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? He lied continuously in the beginning about his involvement with gambling and only told the truth to sell books and make himself more money. He wants to be in the Hall of Fame on his terms and that's never happening.

"If it were me," Schmidt said, "and I had lived a lie for 14 years, and I went up to tell the commissioner that I was sincerely sorry for what I've done to my family, to the sport, etc., I probably would be back in baseball now and in the Hall of Fame -- because I would have been a tremendously remorseful individual...My lifestyle would have changed. I would have felt an obligation to change and to become someone that the baseball world would once again learn to love after forgiving me. I would have been that guy. And I don't think Pete has been."

It is not even about learning to love him again. It's about showing remorse and realizing his mistakes. Pete Rose sits back, refuses to apologize or throw himself on the mercy of the Commissioner and uses his good friends Joe Morgan and Mike Schmidt to do the begging for him. It's too much for him to do because it would involve "Charlie Hustle" and "The Hit King" to be at the mercy of someone else, which he absolutely refuses to do. The Commissioner and some of the public need to see he is sorry or at least know the entire truth, which I don't think we still know.

I still don't believe he didn't bet against the Reds. I think he did. He was a gambler and the Reds victories and losses is something he could control as the manager, so why would he not affect the outcome in a few games every once in a while? The answer is he would and probably did.

The men in that room actually talked informally, he said, about how Rose should go about holding a news conference to admit what he never could admit all those years: that he'd bet on baseball.

He never held that press conference. He wrote a book instead.

But the men in that meeting also talked about the changes in lifestyle Rose was going to have to make. No more trips to Vegas. No more hanging out at the racetrack. That was going to have to stop.
And, of course, none of it ever stopped. Not then. Not now.

If this is true and Pete Rose is still gambling, this is exactly what I am talking about when it comes to him not being remorseful and not wanting to be in the Hall of Fame enough to earn the honor. He won't change and those against his induction need to see that change.

People in the commissioner's office are still muttering that Rose's first public stop after leaving Selig's office was an appearance at a Vegas sports book. It wasn't quite the reconfiguration of Pete Rose's life they had in mind.

I am repeating myself but Pete Rose won't change, so why should MLB and the Commissioner change their minds? They don't want blood from Pete Rose or for him to sacrifice his first born, they just want to see remorse and know he is changing his ways...which he isn't doing.

"He's being prevented from earning a living in the industry in which he became a king. It would be almost akin to an actor being blackballed."

Yeah, Mike Schmidt, it's not all like that. It's like an athlete being banned from his sport for betting on games while he was a manager, that's what it is like. Being blackballed infers there is no reasoning behind the banning, when there is actual reasoning behind this. Pete Rose could have compromised the integrity of his own team's win-loss record by shaping games to meet his gambling interests. Mike Schmidt should know better than to say a dumbass thing like this.

Instead of a bare-his-soul news conference, Rose couldn't resist the sound of that cash register ringing. When he "told all" in a book, released it on Hall of Fame election week and launched into a book tour instead of a news conference, he was cooked. Forever.

I think that is pretty much the story of Pete Rose and his ban from baseball. He was caught gambling on baseball and when given the chance to tell the truth, he accepted his ban from the game, and when given a chance to come clean and show he had changed, he chose to make some money off his confession. Everytime he has been given a chance to show he has changed as a person and build up goodwill, he has refused to do so.

The Pete Rose situation was never about his performance on the field so the arguments about him being "The Hit King" and all of that don't even matter. It is about:

1. The fact he bet on baseball while managing the Reds.

2. Lied about betting on the Reds while he managed them until he could make a profit at which point he admitted it.

3. Accepted his sentence in the beginning when originally caught gambling.

4. Has never shown remorse and refuses to meet baseball's terms to get back in their good graces.

5. Uses his friends to do his begging for him because he is pride won't let him beg.

6. He still not quit gambling, despite the fact this would really help his case to get back involved with baseball and possibly make the Hall of Fame.

7. All of these things lead many to believe he doesn't really care about making the Hall of Fame or being involved with baseball again.

All 7 of those things are what the Pete Rose discussion is about.

The Hall of Fame really doesn't have a morality clause because of the other shady characters who have been voted in, but being recognized for making the Hall of Fame is an honor any baseball players should want, and Pete Rose hasn't shown he wants it.


KentAllard said...

If Childress benched Favre, the resulting media explosion would kill us all.

I don't believe Rose is innocent by any means, but I wish they would vote him in so the issue would go away. If character matters that much, there wouldn't be very many players in the Hall, although Dale Murphy would be a lock. As I've said before, part of my feeling is the Hall is so diluted and compromised as to be near meaningless, but to each his own.

I've always thought the weakest part of the case against Rose was the man who prepared the report against him, John Dowd. Dowd has been kind of a sleaze, and there have been rumors (no facts I could find) that Dowd had some kind of a personal grudge.

If it doesn't go away soon, I'm going to make up and promote my own conspiracy theory, which is that Giamatti framed Rose in revenge for the Reds beating the Red Sox in the 75 World Series. :-)

AJ said...

Rose should never and will never be in the HoF.

Though there is no evidence that I have seen that shows he bet against his own team, there also is no evidence that he didn't bet against his own team. I believe he did. And the more he says he didn't, the more I believe he did.

If you managed a team, and you also were a hard core gambler, would you realistically think your team was going to win all 162 games? I'm not saying he bet on all 162, but being a gambler you have to know your team can not win them why wouldn't he have bet against his own team?

There are racists, cheaters, and low lifes in the HoF, but the one thing that will get you banned for life is gambling on the game or fixing the outcome of the game itself. Fixing games, or doing anything to the game where the outcome has yet to be decided goes against all aspects of a professional sport.

He accepted the ban for life, now he should live with it. He makes more money not being in the HoF then if he was, which to me is what he is all about...making money.

Bengoodfella said...

I think if Childress benched Favre, ESPN would cancel all shows and just focus on the aftermath of this event. So far Peter King has had no mention of this in his Tweets or online. It looks like if they don't break a story then SI doesn't cover it. I would like to know his point of view on it.

I don't think Dale Murphy, Gil Hodges, Ron Santo, Jim Rice, Omar Vizquel, Ozzie Smith (yep), and many others should be in the Hall of Fame. I am for some of them making it so everyone will just shut up about it though. I haven't reached that point with Rose. A few years ago I think he should be in and now I am not sure.

I would love to have some more information on Dowd, I didn't know he was shady. That could help me make my decision if I knew he had a personal stake in the reinstatement.

That is a pretty good conspiracy theory. If Giamatti were alive you could accuse him of that to his face in a public place if you chose to do so...unfortunately we will all miss that event.

AJ, I am with you. I think he is lying about betting on the Reds. If he is going to break the rules and gamble why would he stop at not betting on the Reds? That's where he could make the most money because he knows the state of the team and who may play well and who may not. If he really didn't bet on the Reds he was the dumbest and worst gambler ever.

Even with the cheating and the cheaters that have made the HoF there is still idea the game is not fixed simply because of that. When a manager could fix a game though, that is a completely different story.

I think all he cares about is money also. If he really cared to be involved with baseball, he would do what it took to get involved again and possibly make the Hall of Fame. He's not willing to do this though.

KentAllard said...

Bill James, in his Historical Abstract, argues against the Dowd Report, but I can't remember if he includes anything of a personal nature about Dowd. I'll see if I can find a reference to Dowd being disciplined by the bar for revealing confidential information about a client to another client who was suing the first. I read this in some legal publication some years ago, but it's probably on-line somewhere. Incidentally, you can buy baseballs signed by both Dowd and Rose together, which doesn't speak well of either.

Please don't think I'm a big Rose defender. If I was absolute ruler of baseball, I wouldn't let him in, and I'd void the statistics of McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, et al, too. But corruption seems at the heart of the game.

Bengoodfella said...

That is very interesting as well. I was definitely remiss in not investigating this Dowd fellow more than I did, which was google his name and see what he did in reference to Pete Rose. It seems he is a shady character himself.

I don't like that you can find a baseball with both of their signatures on it. Even if they weren't in the same room when they signed, it still doesn't speak well that both of them would be willing to sign a baseball the other had signed as well. Nothing like trying to make a profit off a scandal of your own making I guess.

You can be a Rose defender, I really don't care. If someone can give me a good case as to why he should be in the Hall of Fame, I would accept it.

I think he should be in the Hall of Fame but he hasn't shown any remorse, so I understand why baseball has not relented. I don't like how he has Morgan and Schmidt fight the battle for him because he is too prideful to do it himself...or even quit gambling.

Maybe there should be a whole other wing dedicated to those players who did use PEDs or something. Unfortunately corruption has tainted a lot of the baseball records and there is nothing we can do about it now except dilute the Hall of Fame by not letting great hitters in who would have made it anyway, like Barry Bonds, and consider guys who I don't think deserve it, like Omar Vizquel.

Anonymous said...

BGF...Send AJ a box of Spicy Cheez-Its. He nailed this one.

Well said AJ.

Rose should never be in the Hall. Not that the Hall matters anymore.

AJ said...

Oh sweet, more food being sent my way!!!

Still waiting on those hot dogs...

Bengoodfella said...

AJ, look in the mail for the Hot N' Spicy Cheez-Its. I will double wrap them in bubble wrap so there is no chance any of them will break. They should be there in a couple of days.

I sent the hot dogs already...I don't know why you don't have them.

The HoF has dramatically dropped in significance in a lot of people's minds and really for good reason. I think it is only going to get worse as the PED users start to get voted/not get voted in. There are going to be those on both sides of that issue which will believe the Hall has lost significance by admitting/not admitting those players.

Either way, I don't know how much the Hall will matter in a few years.

Martin said...

I think the Hall stopped being important when the public was able to start utilizing things like logic, numbers and stats on their own, and not having to rely on the bill "F'ing" Plashke's of the world to tell them who the great players are. Seriously, if it was 40 years ago, there'd be guys pushing for The Furious Ball of Grit and Determination to be a Hall of Famer. So he doesn't have the stats...he has the WILL!!

As the public becomes more educated, it does things like line up Rice to Parker and goes "Um, so why is one and not the other?" "Hey, this Blyleven guy, his numbers are the shiz..and you haven't voted him in because....he threw curveballs? Didn't play in a major market so he got overlooked? Wait, what's the ding ding ding sound?"

As the evidence of the uneducated, lazy, and sycophantic press piled up, their choices and defense of the players they did pick for the Hall only highlighted it's irrelavency. I mean, seriously, we get to hear fucking Joe Morgan try and tell me how Davey Concepcion should be in the god damned Hall, every god damned week on god damned ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, and we are suppossed to respect the Hall and the people who are putting guys in it? F me to tears.