Thursday, April 3, 2014

4 comments Bill Madden Struggles with Equivalency When Comparing Pete Rose and Barry Bonds

Bill Madden is somewhat disturbed that Barry Bonds has made his way back to baseball as a special spring training instructor. Because Bill has difficulty with equivalency and understanding how Act X by Person Z can be completely separate from Act Y by Person B, he wonders what Bonds being accepted by the Giants organization says about whether Pete Rose should be accepted back into baseball's loving arms. See, Bill seems to think there is some sort of connection between betting on baseball and taking steroids. He seems to believe that because betting on baseball isn't as severe of a crime (which is a personal opinion) as using steroids then perhaps Pete Rose should be welcomed back by MLB and allowed in the Hall of Fame. The issue is that Bonds' steroid use and Rose's gambling are two separate issues that don't tie in with each other even though the penalty (not being in the Hall of Fame) is very similar. If Person A gets arrested for a crime that carries a life sentence (such as being arrested for the third time for selling enormous amounts of cocaine) and Person B gets arrested for a crime that carries a life sentence (such as murdering 10 people), simply because the selling of cocaine feels like a lesser crime doesn't mean Person A's sentence should be reduced. Person A and Person B committed separate crimes that resulted in the same sentence. The severity of one person's crime should not lessen the sentence for the other person's crime. Bill Madden doesn't see it this way.

One can only imagine what Pete Rose must have been thinking last week seeing convicted felon Barry Bonds, an arrogant, surly “anti-ambassador” of baseball his entire career, who cheated his way past Hank Aaron to the all-time home run record and then lied about his use of steroids to everyone, including a federal grand jury, back in uniform for the San Francisco Giants as a special spring training instructor.

Oh wow, that's a lot of dislike. I'm not a huge Barry Bonds fan myself either and he beat out one of my favorite players from my favorite MLB team to have the all-time home run record, so I doubly am not a huge fan of him. Having said that, I don't consider him the home run king and still think it's Hank Aaron. I just don't get all up in arms over Bonds being considered the "real" home run king because it really doesn't matter to me and it's all in the past. It seems Bill Madden hasn't put it in the past. It's probably best to put this distaste for Bonds to bed. Bonds cheated, he achieved records, onward and upward.

And what the Giants were thinking is the same thing the St. Louis Cardinals were thinking when they hired Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. They were thinking that Barry Bonds, steroids or no steroids, was a really good hitter and could probably impart some of this knowledge to the current Giants players. Bonds was a really good baseball player even prior to the time he is thought to have used steroids.

It was indeed a strange coincidence that Bonds should end his seven-year exile at the same time Rose’s ban for betting on baseball is now coming up on its 25th anniversary,

I mean, not really. It's not a strange coincidence, these are two events that have almost nothing to do with each other. 

It probably says everything about Bonds’ return to the Giants that, on the day he arrived in camp last week, neither managing general partner Larry Baer nor GM Brian Sabean was anywhere to be found.

And Pete Rose wasn't anywhere to be found either. What a strange coincidence.

If Larry Baer and Brian Sabean really didn't want Bonds to be a special spring training instructor then I would suspect Bonds wouldn't have been allowed to take that position. It's not like the general partner or GM of the Giants has any pull with the Giants organization or anything. 

Unfortunately, Selig was powerless to stop it because, despite being the poster guy for the steroids era in baseball, Bonds never failed a drug test, and despite Bonds’ post-career conviction for obstruction of justice in the government’s BALCO steroids case, the commissioner was unable to suspend him for conduct detrimental to baseball.

Both Bonds and Pete Rose have the same number of letters in their first and last name. Rose has four letters in each name, Bonds has five letters in each name. Add them together and you get 18. Barry Bonds has been retired from baseball for 7 seasons now (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) and if you add 18 to 7 you get 25. 25 years is how long ago it was that Pete Rose was banned from baseball. Coincidence? Clearly it is not. These two players are inextricably linked together and one person's punishment should obviously be compared to the other player's lack of punishment. 

It’s believed Bonds wangled his invitation after lobbying some of the Giants’ limited partners and Baer, realizing that, like it or not, the Giants are eventually going to have start accepting him as part of their history, reluctantly gave the okay.

How incredibly selfish and evil of Barry Bonds to lobby in order to spend time teaching current Giants players some of the finer points of hitting so that the Giants organization could benefit. Bonds intentionally takes up some of his free time in order to assist the Giants organization and impart his knowledge. What a selfish prick. 

Meanwhile, Pete Rose is unselfishly hanging out near the Hall of Fame selling memorabilia to make a profit and only admitting he gambled on baseball when it can financially benefit him. He's a saint. 

Bonds was all nicey-nice with the reporters he held in contempt during his playing days, reminding me of the famous line by legendary New York baseball writer Frank Graham, about ’20s Yankee outfielder Bob Meusel, who shunned the writers most of his career until finally deciding to oblige them in his last season: “He’s learning to say hello, when it’s time to say goodbye.”

How dare Barry Bonds be nice to reporters when he isn't constantly be asked about steroids? What a dick. It's just typical Barry Bonds that he is nice to reporters after his playing career had ended. Doesn't he know that once you are mean to the media they hold a grudge and at no point are you allowed to talk to them and not be considered an asshole?

Meanwhile, Rose, who, as a player, was universally regarded as one of the great ambassadors of baseball,

Is he though? I'd like to hear about specific ambassadorial things that Rose has done. You know, things like after his retirement lobbied to come back and teach current baseball players the finer points of hitting. Wait, Rose can't do that because he is banned for life from baseball. Well, I'm sure Rose did some wonderful ambassadorial things during his player career. They are probably too many to list right now, which is why Bill Madden doesn't list a single one. 

and who, even in exile for having broken baseball’s cardinal rule, is hailed by many former players, including Hall-of-Famers Barry Larkin and Mike Schmidt, as having been an inspiring and instrumental figure in their careers, remains on the outside looking in.

And yet, Barry Bonds is actively working with MLB players in order to have some instrumental impact on their careers. This makes him a bad person according to Bill Madden. Of course, the point isn't whether Pete Rose has helped Barry Larkin and Mike Schmidt or not, but the fact Pete Rose gambled on baseball. THAT is the issue, just like Bonds using steroids is the issue Bill Madden has with Bonds' return to baseball with the Giants as a special spring training instructor. So regardless of whether Rose inspired ex-teammates or players, he still bet on baseball and that is why he is banned for life. 

I have no doubt Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini would love to have Rose in his team’s camp, imparting his knowledge, as only he can, on how to play the game, to the young Reds players, but that cannot happen as long as Rose remains on baseball’s permanent ineligible list.

Great, but Rose's ban for life from baseball has nothing to do with Barry Bonds and his use of steroids.

And, with one year to go in his commissionership, Selig is not about to lift Rose’s ban, in spite of the renewed debate as to which is the more serious crime against baseball, gambling or out-and-out cheating with performance-enhancing drugs, which has made a mockery of the game’s records. 

It's not a matter of whether using steroids is a more serious crime than betting on baseball and so Rose's ban for life should be rescinded. Comparing using steroids and betting on baseball is comparing apples and oranges. They should each be treated like a separate baseball-related crime that carries a heavy punishment. One punishment should not impact the other punishment.

It has been pointed out that baseball’s cardinal rule against gambling is all-encompassing and that there is a big difference between fixing a World Series — as the permanently banned 1919 White Sox did — and betting on your own team to win, as Rose did as manager of the Reds from 1984-89.

Oh, so betting on baseball is wrong, unless you bet on your own team to win. Got it. And here I thought all betting on baseball was wrong, but it turns out Bill Madden thinks there are certain levels of wrongness when it comes to gambling on baseball and Pete Rose gambled on his team to win, so it's no-harm-no-foul on that one. 

Not to mention, do we know for sure that Rose only bet on the Reds to win? I think taking the word of man who is known to lie probably isn't the best move when determining that Rose only bet on the Reds to win games. Clearly, Rose has a reason to lie about whether he bet against the Reds or not when he was playing for or managing the team. 

Rose’s biggest problem, however, may have been not so much the crime itself, but adamantly denying it for 15 years after the fact.

Well, plus he seems to care more about only expressing remorse when it can make him a few bucks. When he can sign baseballs stating he bet on baseball or has a book he wants to sell. It seems that a lot of Rose's remorse is tied in with his opportunities to make money.

Had he come clean immediately and expressed his remorse — as he has now done repeatedly for the past 10 years — there was a precedent, in pro football, for a lesser sentence. In 1963, NFL stars Paul Hornung and Alex Karras admitted to having bet as much as $500 a game on their teams to win and were suspended for one year by commissioner Pete Rozelle.

That's not necessarily a precedent since it took place in a different sport 26 years before Pete Rose was banned for life from baseball. Plus, Hornung and Karras bet on their own team. Why were they even fined? 

I'm still waiting on some of the ambassadorial things Rose has done for baseball. I have a feeling I will continue waiting. 

But as one close associate of Selig told me: “Pete’s his own worst enemy. He still hasn’t reconfigured his life (as then-commissioner Bart Giamatti told him to do in 1989). He’s still hanging out in casinos, and as much as Bud has no use for all the steroids cheats, he believes that, without strict and severe upholding of the gambling rule, you have no game.”

Well, there you go, perhaps that explains why Pete Rose hasn't been accepted back into baseball yet. There's no coincidence between Rose being banned for 25 years and Barry Bonds being a special spring training instructor. By "no coincidence" I mean "these two things have nothing to do with each other." It seems that Bill Madden likes Pete Rose and so he will take any opportunity to lobby for him to be eligible for the Hall of Fame and have his lifetime ban lifted.

One last thing. What about Pete Rose's lifetime ban for gambling, plus the fact he has admitted to "greenie" use? Greenies are amphetamines and can help improve a baseball player's performance. Rose has been accused by fellow players and admitted to using greenies on quite a few occasions. I guess the fact players in the 70's and 80's used greenies will continue to be ignored and Bill Madden chooses to point out what a cheater Barry Bonds is while skipping over the fact that Pete Rose has admitted to amphetamine use while he played baseball. Of course, why not? After all, it doesn't help Pete Rose's case to mention he used amphetamines because that could make him look like a cheater in the same vein as Bonds. That couldn't be true though, because Pete Rose is an ambassador for baseball.


Ericb said...

So, how long did it take you to come up with that 25 years thing? How do you even start?

Anonymous said...

Also, even if he was only betting on his team to win, on the days that he didnt place bets, he was, for all intents and purposes, betting against his team.

Snarf said...

I would go further an argue that a manager betting on baseball is far more damaging to the game of baseball than steroid use by individual players. Betting on games seriously threatens the credibility of results due to alternative motivations, which is really at the heart of people caring about sports, and the sports media for that matter. At least in the case of a steroid user they are (A) seeking to improve their own performance (no question of whether they are "betting on themselves to win") and (B) producing tangible results. It is clear to the fans of the sport that barry bonds could hit home runs and when he did that those were "legitimate" (this may be the wrong word to use) events that took place in a game. A manager betting on baseball calls into question the moves made and motivation of his team to win. The classic example, which I think of a good one, is Rose potentially sabotaging his teams chances for a game tomorrow by trying to win the game tonight had he bet on said game.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, it sort of came to me as I was writing actually. I was trying to tie them together with something ridiculous. I got lucky.

Anon, I don't know if I care if Rose is in the HoF or not at this point. I tend to get worn down and just don't care at a certain point. You make a good point and what irritates me most about this "Gambling isn't as bad as PED's" is it seems it's all forgotten that Pete Rose will seemingly say anything as long as it either (a) fits his current motive or (b) makes him a profit.

That's my biggest issue with him, not that he gambled. Fine, he did it. But he didn't admit it until it was advantageous to him, confessed more when he had a book to sell, and now makes money off his renown. There's nothing wrong with it on the surface, but it just seems clear to me that Rose will deceive and lie so I have a hard time trusting what he says is true.

Snarf, I think gambling on games, even if it is for your team to win, is more damaging than PED's. They really aren't comparable and that's why I don't love comparing them, but betting on/against your team as a manager/player brings those alternative motivations into the current game. Yes, PED's affect the outcome of a game if that one player is the only one using them, but gambling like Rose did takes the performance of 25 guys and has it manipulated to fit a manager's purpose.

Your example is a good one and we all know (myself included) immediacy of a reward is what most humans choose, so Rose could have chosen to win a game tonight that he bet on and this could increase the chances of a loss on the game the next day he didn't bet on. Plus, how I am to believe a guy who lied for a decade about even gambling that he didn't bet against the Reds?

PED's and gambling are two separate issues in my mind. It's not easy to compare them and there's no equivalency there in my opinion.