Friday, May 08, 2009

Volume 59 - Pete Rose

"The Boys of Summer" have returned, at least that was the term used in the past when the 'National Past Time' (Baseball) involved going to the Ball Park, witnessing one's heroes making that special play or getting that clutch hit, having a few 'dogs,' some 'brews' and enjoying the time.

So much for past pleasures, real or imagined.

A large number of The 'Boys of Summer' have turned into drug users, performance enhancer poster boys, multi million dollar babies who who simply have no ability in accepting responsibility. Some, like Ramirez or Rodriguez (our latest poster 'boys') will set 'asterisk*' records of one sort or another. This edition however is not about 'Free Market,' 'Supply and Demand,' $50.00 tickets, $6.00 hot dogs,or even .250 batting averages. This is about the fact that Pete Rose, 'Charlie Hustle,' is not in the Hall of Fame, banned from Baseball, while 'banned substance' players continue on their multi-million dollar trek through the 'bigs'.

The 3,000 Hit Club is one of baseball's most exclusive fraternities, and of the over 10,000 major league players since 1869 only 26 have collected 3,000 hits. Pete Rose has 4,256 hits. The next five in line are Ty Cobb (4,191), Hank Aaron (3,771), Stan Musial (3,630), Tris Speaker (3,514) and Carl Yastrzemski (3,419). These five as well as the other twenty are all in or are a lock to enter the Hall of Fame. The lone exception is Pete Rose who was banned from baseball for gambling in 1989.

I don't have to explain to baseball fans the difficulty in obtaining membership to this club, or the simple fact that it takes 200 hits for fifteen straight seasons to get 3,000. This feat, Pete Rose's 4,256, will never be matched nor beat. It is simply not possible in today's baseball; just as no one will ever come even close to Nolan Ryan's strikeout record. Today you will be lucky to see batting percentages above .250, and pitchers throwing more than 4 innings!

So to the point of all this, in 1989 Pete Rose was banned from baseball (and the Hall of Fame) for gambling. Actually this would be a non arguable stance if it were not for what has taken place since that time with regards to the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs . As stated by many observers of the game, the publication of the Mitchell Report marked the darkest day in the history of Major League Baseball. Complicity by the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball itself overlooking and turning a blind eye to the drug scandal is not only unacceptable but enhanced the fact that many of our 'hero's' were/are involved in wide spread practice of drug abuse, or banned substances (enhancers).

Since December of 2007, names such as Barry Bonds, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, Miguel Tejada, Eric Gagne, Gregg Zaun, Lenny Dykstra, Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire, Chuck Knoblauch, Alex Rodriguez and now Manny Ramirez (now sitting out a 50 game suspension) to simply name a few that hold Major league Baseball records or are on their way to smashing records are known or alleged participants. The list within the Mitchell report included 7 Major League Baseball MVPs and that was almost a year and a half ago with many more major players in full admission or implication into this abusive arena. "The widespread use of steroids and other banned substances within Major League Baseball, together with the complicity of the league itself, constitutes fraud and a breach of the contract major league Baseball made with every fan that purchased a game ticket. How many outcomes (of games) were effected? How many records since the 90's are questionable? The seriousness of this problem and its effect on baseball and young people will be felt for decades.

Nevertheless, records have been broke and posted. To my knowledge no one has been banned from baseball or the Hall of Fame. It appears that 'gambling' far outreaches the 'drug abuse.' Sad state of affairs when legitimate records were established by natural skill and hustle gets abruptly and permanently sidelined by a 'bookie'; yet, abusive destructive drug abuse effecting generations is, in fact, accepted.