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July 17, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

Another SNAB Column

Here we go again. Tonight, ESPN will be broadcasting the trial and execution of Pete Rose. Okay, so they're not executing him, but a guy can dream, can't he?

It's not a real trial, of course, just a mock one, with the famous defense attorney and poet laureate Johnny Cochran speaking for the defense, while the prosecutor will be Alan Dershowitz, the famous…defense attorney. Okay, then. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job. The issue being debated is not whether Rose bet on baseball or should be reinstated, but whether he should be in the Hall of Fame, which is good, because that’s the only issue here that is worthy of debate.

Nothing good will come from this, of course. If the verdict is that he should not be in the Hall of Fame, it’s not going to change the minds of any of the devout supporters of Rose, and if the verdict is that he should be in the Hall, it can only serve as encouragement to Bud to reinstate Rose. Only ESPN benefits from this trial, which is likely to get good ratings.

There is probably nothing that can be said about the Pete Rose issue that has not already been said. Back in January at Primer, John Brattain suggested: (Don’t click this link. One word: PETCO)
...I used to be into sadism, necrophilia, and bestiality. That is, until I realized I was beating a dead horse.

O.K. this is sick and twisted (and funny). Let's enter this into the Primer thesaurus "sadism, necrophilia, and bestiality." We'll call it by it's acronym sadism, necrophilia, and bestiality (SNAB).

SNAB: Primer for "Pete Rose thread." So when a Rose thread is posted it should be properly identified as "Another SNAB column."
I will not rehash the case. If you want to learn more, read this. All I will do is give my opinion on this issues, whether Pete Rose should go into the Hall of Fame or not.

Pete Rose was a very good player for a very long time. The fact that he is the all-time hits leader speaks to the fact that he played until he was 45, when he was writing his own name into the lineup as player-manager. He got 4256 hits, but he did that in 14053 At Bats, more than any player in history. His career batting average was .303, his career OPS was .784. He was not Ty Cobb, he was Paul Molitor. Ty Cobb had a .945 OPS--in a better pitcher’s era, too.

But if Rose was not banned, he would be a Hall of Famer, just like Molitor will be. But he is banned, and the question is whether his accomplishments outweigh his transgressions.

God, no. Not even close. Betting on games in which you have a duty to perform is about the worst thing a professional athlete can do, but since there is no evidence that he ever threw a game, and there is no reliable evidence that he ever bet against his own team, it is a pardonable sin. For Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, or Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays…and Barry Bonds. But not for Pete Rose. He just wasn’t that good.

In fact, forget 4256. It’s a counting stat, taken wholly out of context. Remember this number: 118. That was Pete Rose’s career adjusted OPS+. 18 percent above league average.

Here’s another number: 116.

That’s Raul Mondesi’s.

* * *

Since I started blogging, I haven't read as much baseball writing as I used to, partly out of fear of getting someone else's words stuck in my head, and being unable to write anything original. I'll check on several blogs a few times a week, and take a trek down the list on the left every now and then, too, but for the most part, I lurk at Primer, and post when I have something to say (usually, something smart-assed to say).

A couple of readers sent me links to their blogs, and asked me to check them out. Kostya Medvedovsky is a Red Sox fan, but his Outside World Baseball Blog is about all of baseball. Baseball Ranting and Rambling is by a fellow Yankees fan. A more clever person would say something here that would make you want to read them *RIGHT NOW*. But I've been up since 3am, I'm too tired to be clever. I think both you guys are doing a good job so far, keep it up. Check them out, and tell them what you think.