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And Another Thing

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Pete Rose crashes into Ray Fosse to score the winning run of the 1970 All-Star game in Cincinnati.

Rose, Hall: The hardy perennial

Don't really know why, maybe just for the irony value, but Pete Rose was making the talk show rounds again yesterday, talking about miscreants in baseball.

His take, naturally, as the Baseball Hall of Fame again moves on without him this weekend, is that guys like Ryan Braun and All Them Others did more damage to the game than he did gambling on it.

Now, that's a position you can certainly debate, but Rose isn't the one who should be debating it. A man with his knowledge of baseball history should have been the first guy to realize what a corrosive thing insider gambling on the game came, but he didn't care anymore about the game's integrity than Braun or any juicers did. So, Pete, please, just shut up.

Look. My take on Rose has been consistent from the start: No way he should have ever been even considered for the Hall of Fame, all those hits or not, as long as he kept publicly lying about his gambling (something he did with every bit as much breathtaking arrogance as Ryan Braun did, by the way. And for much longer).

But now that he's finally come clean?

Sure. Let him in. And let the juicers in, too, because, whether they bet on the game or were enhanced or not, a Hall of Fame with Rose or Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens in it -- and you can throw Manny Ramirez, A-Rod and any number of others in there, too -- is no Hall of Fame. It's a Hall of Situational Ethics.

I mean, stop and think for a minute how many players from the '70s and '80s are in the Hall who were ramping up on amphetamines to get them through the dog days every summer. And yet amphetamines, it says here, were every bit as performance-enhancing as today's PEDs -- even more, maybe, because steroids, HGH and whatever else players are putting in their bodies these days don't help them hit the curveball an iota. All they do is make the ball go farther when they do hit it.

So. Vote 'em in and put a notation on their plaques: "Some of so-and-so's statistics were accrued during what came to be known as the Steroids Era." Ditto with Rose: "After his playing career, Rose was banned from baseball for gambling on his own team as a manager."

While we're at it, let's put Shoeless Joe Jackson in there, too. In fact, in my world, he goes in before Rose, because A) he was a better player, and B) the evidence that he actively tried to throw games in the 1919 World Series is shaky at best, considering he was the best player on the field in that series, batting .375 and driving in a then-record 12 runs.

Ben Smith's blog.

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