"Never Be Satisfied"
May 23, 2012 10:09 PM   Subscribe

"I'm just looking for a second chance. Other people get second chances. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Spousal beaters. Not gamblers, though. But, if you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me, it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in. So that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports. No one else can say that." Here, Now is a short documentary that looks at baseball legend Pete Rose, as he lives his life today.

Part of ESPN's upcoming season of 30 for 30. First season's website. (Last two links have autoplaying video.) Some documentaries from the first season are available on YouTube, and available for purchase and download at iTunes.

* The Fab Five (Michigan Men's Basketball, Pay-for-Play Scandal) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
* Run, Ricky, Run (Ricky Williams)
* Into the Wind (The Story of Terry Fox)
* The 16th Man: (Rugby in South Africa) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
* The Two Escobars
* Catching Hell (Steve Bartman): Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
* Roll Tide / War Eagle: (Auburn / Alabama RIvalry) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
posted by zarq (45 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
A baseball manager who is also a player who bets on some games he manages and plays himself in, but not others, is by any definition of logic throwing games. Pete Rose must never be allowed back in baseball.
posted by Fnarf at 10:28 PM on May 23, 2012 [11 favorites]


Just wanted to chime in with a hearty endorsement of the Fab Five 30/30 doc linked above. They made their incredible run(s) when I was still (relatively) young, and as a Detroiter I really idolized those guys, especially Rose. And I still have recurring nightmares about Webber's "time-out." And yes, the black shoes and general street swagger were BFDs at the time.

Anyone with anything approaching a passing interest in college hoops has probably already seen the doc, but if not: watch it.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:33 PM on May 23, 2012


Sorry if that distracted from the Pete Rose link. As a Tigers fan I have nothing (more) to say about that. Save for some gratuitous parentheses, evidently.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:34 PM on May 23, 2012


Did he ever bet against himself?
posted by effugas at 10:42 PM on May 23, 2012


Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. His accomplishments as a player on the field put him in an elite group of players. Pete Rose does not belong in Major League Baseball. His actions in the clubhouse and off the field undermined the integrity of the games he managed and played in.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:50 PM on May 23, 2012 [14 favorites]


Did he ever bet against himself?

The Dowd report (the result of MLB's official investigation into allegations that Rose gambled) concluded that he never bet against the team. However, Dowd, the author of the report, later stated that he believed Rose did occasionally bet against the Reds.
posted by fatbird at 10:55 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever. Let him back into the game. Why are you so aggro about it? People like Marge Schotte damaged the game, not Pete Rose.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:27 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wonder how many games Roger Federer has won.
posted by Wolof at 11:29 PM on May 23, 2012


in a democracy, I'd vote for letting Mr. Rose back in. Because when I was seven, he was my favorite player. Charlie fucking Hustle.
posted by philip-random at 11:29 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rule 21d in the MLB's rulebook is clear. If you bet on a game you played in, you're out for life, whether you bet on your own team or against your own team. If you bet on any other game, you're out for a year.

Let's also remember that Rose voluntarily accepted a permanent ban. The agreement between Rose and Giamatti states that it is not an admission of wrongdoing on Rose's part, but it also states that Rose "acknowledges that the Commissioner has a factual basis to impose the penalty provided herein." In exchange for this, the MLB agreed not to make any formal findings on the gambling issue.

If that isn't a clear admission of wrongdoing, what else could it be? If Rose didn't bet on games he played in, why would he have accepted a permanent ban instead of a one-year suspension? Yet it took Rose until he wrote his goddamned book in 2004 to finally admit that he bet on Reds games. But never against the Reds, he claims. Which doesn't matter to Rule 21d, but whatever.

As for the Hall of Fame: it's an austere organization with byzantine rules, but they could change their minds on the ineligibility list whenever they wanted. The Veterans Committee (Rose's only hope of getting in now) voted in 2008 to bar those on the ineligible list from consideration. Rose is the only living member of that list.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a referendum on Pete Rose, and he has therefore had as much consideration as a bunch of other people who haven't yet made it in and didn't break a rule that's posted in every goddamn dugout. I will shed no tears for Pete Rose.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:55 PM on May 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


I met Bart Giammatti's son-in-law back in 2004 just after Rose's book came out. He said that his father-in-law had offered Rose a deal: Admit your wrong doing, get some help and the ban would not be permanent. Rose refused to admit his wrong doing, so Giammatti threw the book at him. According to Giamatti's son in law, the family felt that the banning weighed heavily on Giamatti right up until his death

It was cold comfort to Giammatti's family that Rose finally came clean and vindicated their father, as Bart Giammatti been all but slandered by Rose and his apologists both before and after Giamatti's death.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:21 AM on May 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Pete Rose must never be allowed back in baseball.

I agree wholeheartedly. I also believe that you, everyone in MLB management, and anyone else who agrees with you are absolute hypocrites until you also ban the following from baseball for life:

Barry Bonds
Mark McGwuire
Jose Canseco
Jason Giambi
Gary Sheffield
Darryl Strawberry
Manny Ramirez
Roger Clemens
Lenny Dykstra
David Justice
Andy Pettitte
Josh Hamilton
Miguel Tejada
Anyone on this list
Anyone on this list
A whole bunch of these guys

Let's be extremely effing clear: drug abusers in Major League Baseball get a plethora of chances to repent their illegal behaviors. Failure to comply with a treatment program? Well, you get at least 5 graduating chances / fines, and even after the fifth offense, the policy is pretty much up to the Comish's discretion. Positive steroid test result? You get 2 free passes, only on the 3rd time will you be in Rose's shoes. Conviction for use of prohibited substance? Same as failure to comply - at least 5 chances and then the Comish gets involved.

What the eff did MLB ever do to help Rose other than kicking him out? They didn't even catch him doing it while he was an active player, and he voluntarily agreed to go along with them years after the fact. As far as I'm concerned, that was his second biggest mistake.

I swear, a modern day player could run over his own bookie while speeding in his back-door pharmacist's Benz and snorting coke off a hooker's thigh and he'd still get a slap on the wrist.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:40 AM on May 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


His accomplishments as a player on the field put him in an elite group of players.

Pete Rose is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and outs (10,328).

But he was also a gambler so let's just forget about those numbers.
posted by three blind mice at 3:36 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


A baseball manager who is also a player who bets on some games he manages and plays himself in, but not others, is by any definition of logic throwing games. Pete Rose must never be allowed back in baseball.

I don't understand this. If he never bet against his team, why would he be "by any definition of logic throwing games"?
posted by juv3nal at 3:37 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If he never bet against his team, why would he be "by any definition of logic throwing games"?

Because of the rule cited above. That rule was a result of the Black Sox scandal, where the White Sox threw the World Series. Since then, MLB has been severely gambling-averse. Which Rose certainly knew.

Also, how can we know whether he ever bet against his team? Just the possibility that he might have is enough, given the hard rule against gambling, to produce a summary judgement of fixing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:35 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A modern-day Greek tragedy.
posted by oddman at 4:36 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can never forgive Pete Rose because of that Prince Valiant haircut.
posted by digsrus at 4:47 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


When he is dead will be soon enough, he is currently in the Ninth Circle. He may never of bet against himself but he did bet against his team. The penalty was clear and accepted. He can be sure he will be voted in eventually. Just not in his lifetime that is the nature of punishment.
posted by pdxpogo at 4:54 AM on May 24, 2012


I can never forgive Pete Rose because of that Prince Valiant haircut.

I'm not so sure the Prince was his model.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:57 AM on May 24, 2012


I can never forgive Pete Rose because of that Prince Valiant haircut.

Coincidentally, 1,972 is also the last year that haircut was acceptable.
posted by escabeche at 5:09 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think betting for your team versus betting against your team is night and day. If Rose only bet for his team, where's the harm? I know it's against MLB rules, but where's the harm?
posted by zardoz at 5:17 AM on May 24, 2012


After reading savetheclocktower's description of the ban, it almost sounds like Pete Rose made the baseball equivalent of an Alford plea.
posted by AMSBoethius at 5:18 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He can be sure he will be voted in eventually. Just not in his lifetime that is the nature of punishment.

This is exactly what I've always believed: that the ban will be lifted upon his death. Baseball loves its history too much to expunge him entirely, but will continue to refuse to reward him in life.
posted by padraigin at 5:30 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


My impression - correct me if I'm wrong - is that Rose, as manager, kept himself on the field in pursuit of Cobb's record past the point where another player might have contributed more to the team.

That would have been a douche move.
posted by Trurl at 5:31 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


zardoz: "I think betting for your team versus betting against your team is night and day. If Rose only bet for his team, where's the harm? I know it's against MLB rules, but where's the harm?"

There are a few things:

1) If, as Pete did, you bet on some of your own games but not others, it is likely that you will pursue risky strategies to win the games you are betting on at the expense of games you don't have money on.

2) It's an easy way to owe a ton of money to bookies, at which point they could conceivably start giving you orders to throw games as a way to relieve your debt.

3) If you're someone in baseball who's gambling on baseball at this point, you are almost certainly someone with a major gambling problem. It's easy for a gambling addict to say they would never, ever bet against their own team today, but tomorrow?

4) Even if you try your hardest to be virtuous in your betting, the bookies you're working with are probably not going to be as assiduous, and they can use what they know about you to change the lines. Major League Baseball isn't that concerned with the integrity of underground sports books, but the other bettors are, and, if this sort of thing came out it would be hugely embarrassing for the game, even if no games were thrown.
posted by Copronymus at 5:39 AM on May 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


'Second chance' is entirely the wrong phrase for a gambler to use.
posted by srboisvert at 5:40 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Trurl: "My impression - correct me if I'm wrong - is that Rose, as manager, kept himself on the field in pursuit of Cobb's record past the point where another player might have contributed more to the team."

Well, yes and no. You can look at his stats, and they pretty much say that he was not a great player after he turned 41. There is absolutely no question that he kept himself in games just so that he could get more hits. That said, while he wasn't great, he also wasn't generally horrible in his last few seasons with the Reds, and he wasn't giving himself 600 at-bats a season. I've heard from somewhere that I can't remember that the Reds at that point probably didn't have anyone who was better than Rose (i.e. no prospects on the farm).

The point that sells me on him not being a total douche in his pursuit of the record is his walk totals in his last years. He was still taking walks to the very end rather than swinging at bad pitches and hoping they somehow turned into hits, and, to me, that says that he wasn't entirely slavish in his devotion to catching Cobb.
posted by Copronymus at 5:48 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm okay with Rose not being in the Hall of Fame, because no one will ever forget him while he's alive and still an easy story for any baseball writer or documentarian to dig up and get new quotes on.

That said, I hope that the Veterans Committee does the right thing after he dies and puts him in immediately.
posted by Etrigan at 5:50 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a side note, The Two Escobars is amazing. Jordan Rides The Bus is also great. And the Reggie Miller one. And the Gretzky one. And on.
posted by starman at 5:56 AM on May 24, 2012


Giamatti says Pete, be straight with me
Have you been gambling on games?
Pete says Commissioner
Where I come from, we bet on everything
Commissoner says
Let's just get to the point Pete
Did you ever bet on your own team
I'm not sure what Pete's gonna reply
But I think I'll have the telephone ring
It's gonna be Shoeless Joe Jackson
Calling from Tangiers
He says Commissioner, if you don't throw him out
What have I been doing all these years
Bagging groceries and painting houses
Having to to beg and steal and rob
Pete tries to grab the receiver, he says
I can tell you stuff about Ty Cobb


- Gamblin' With My Love, Dan Bern
posted by mikepop at 5:59 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't Blame Steve.
posted by mekanic at 6:10 AM on May 24, 2012


I think betting for your team versus betting against your team is night and day. If Rose only bet for his team, where's the harm? I know it's against MLB rules, but where's the harm?

Baseball is both the sprint of each individual game and the marathon of the season. If you bet on single games may spend your resources (bullpen, etc) in such a way that you have a better chance of winning that game, but a worse chance of winning subsequent ones, at the expense of the season.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:34 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, man, Pete Rose could play ball.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:34 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rose may get into the Hall of Fame posthumously, but it will also be after a lot of voters who admired Bart Giamatti or who watched Rose's antics firsthand have also passed away. There is a lot of lingering resentment.

The major obstacle between Rose and Cooperstown is the same thing it has always been -- not the gambling itself, violation of Baseball's One And Only Rule that it was, but his dancing on the head of a pin for fifteen years denying it, sort-of-denying-it, hand-waving it away, and only admitting any portion of it publicly when he had a book to promote. If he'd shown contrition and remorse in '89 and confessed to his sins then, things might be quite different today. Instead, he dragged baseball through the mud repeatedly in an attempt to avoid accepting the consequences of his actions, and that will never be forgotten.

However, he will go to his grave knowing he's in at least one Hall of Fame, and justifiably so.
posted by delfin at 6:40 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think betting for your team versus betting against your team is night and day. If Rose only bet for his team, where's the harm? I know it's against MLB rules, but where's the harm?

Point shaving, for one. And the above mentioned idea of running the team in a way that attempts to win specific games (to make a bet pay off) at the expense of other games. I'm not sure how probable it is, but it is possible to figure out a way to manage the team in such a way that gives them a terrible record, that raises the odds on specific games. Suppose, for example, you've got a great starter, a great middle reliever and a great closer. Instead of spreading their work across three games of a series to even out the chances of winning all three games, you'd put all three in the last game of the series. And then only bet on that game.

And yeah, I'm all for maintaining the lifetime ban. Not because gambling itself is all that bad, but because he was such a dick about it. He could have fallen on his sword and been an example to all the youngsters out there about how making bad choices leads to really bad consequences. Instead, he became a crybaby and basically implied that he was such a great ballplayer that the rules shouldn't apply to him.
posted by gjc at 6:51 AM on May 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


As I recall it Rose's closest pals from the Big Red Machine days (back when he was a great player before first old age and then the gambling destroyed him) like Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey are pretty unambiguous that if he had come clean right away and not behaved like a complete dirtbag for years and years he would be in the Hall of Fame. He is like the prototype of the fortune cookie "when you have dug yourself into a hole quit digging".

The Black Sox were not an aberration. Gambling was systemic and almost destroyed the game before Babe Ruth and his (near-)peers pulled it from out of a public relations abyss.
posted by bukvich at 7:17 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I never liked Rose, and I'm perfectly happy with his exclusion from the Hall of Fame. But if you're going to put him in, you'd fucking well better put in Shoeless Joe.
posted by languagehat at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just want to say I couldn't agree more with allkindsoftime's post. Said everything I wanted to say much better than I would.
posted by kjh at 8:55 AM on May 24, 2012


The 30 For 30 series is fantastic. "June 17, 1994" was my favorite of the whole series. Amazing that all those things happened on that single day and the filmmaker chose a great way to tell the story of how it all unfolded. Great to hear they're making more.

As to Pete Rose, I saw him in that shop last time I was in Vegas. I didn't realize sitting there was kind of his full time job. I wonder if he makes more money off being "Banned for Life Pete Rose" than he would make being "Hall of Famer Pete Rose"? A Hank Aaron autographed baseball seems to sell for twice as much as the $99 he charges, but then I assume Aaron isn't churning them out to anyone who passes 20 days a month.
posted by IanMorr at 9:26 AM on May 24, 2012


IanMorr: " As to Pete Rose, I saw him in that shop last time I was in Vegas. I didn't realize sitting there was kind of his full time job. I wonder if he makes more money off being "Banned for Life Pete Rose" than he would make being "Hall of Famer Pete Rose"? A Hank Aaron autographed baseball seems to sell for twice as much as the $99 he charges, but then I assume Aaron isn't churning them out to anyone who passes 20 days a month."

He's also flooding the market a bit. So they'll be worth less after he's gone. From what I can see, a signed Ted Williams ball goes for anywhere from $700 - $1400 online. But there aren't as many of them so the market is higher.
posted by zarq at 9:43 AM on May 24, 2012


languagehat: "I never liked Rose, and I'm perfectly happy with his exclusion from the Hall of Fame. But if you're going to put him in, you'd fucking well better put in Shoeless Joe."

Exactly. A man who was at least as deserving to in the HOF based on stats, far more blameless in his crime, and who suffered greatly in the aftermath of his ban.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2012


far more blameless in his crime

Say what? There's plenty of evidence that Shoeless Joe actually did help throw the Series, despite what John Sayles and W.P. Kinsella would have you believe.
posted by asterix at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2012


Pete Rose must never be allowed back in baseball.

I agree wholeheartedly. I also believe that you, everyone in MLB management, and anyone else who agrees with you are absolute hypocrites until you also ban the following from baseball for life . . .


PED's undermine the credibility of a player's individual accomplishments, gambling undermines the credibility of the entire business enterprise of Major League Baseball.

The issue with the PED's has been the use of banned and/or illegal drugs by certain players. The accused/suspected players had an unfair advantage over their fellow players who were playing by the rules/obeying the law, but (whether we want to admit or not) it made the game more exciting to watch for the majority of the fans and more profitable for the owners thanks to the increased attendance & interest in MLB as a result.

Gambling undermines the credibility of MLB because it causes the fans to suspect that the players on the field have a financial incentive to NOT win sometimes, which makes the experience of watching a baseball game more like watching WWE, which diminishes the product, and by extension, revenues (though I don't doubt MLB wouldn't try to introduce story lines into games if they thought they could profit from it with out alienating any of their fan base). Furthermore MLB is dead set against gambling because MLB derives no profit from the gambling-- the money goes to the players & the gamblers. This undermines the integrity of the business model, which as far as MLB is concerned is a greater threat than concerns about the integrity of the game itself.

Ultimately, this is all about money and Pete Rose's gambling and refusal to apologize for it was a big economic "Fuck You!" to baseball and that's why he's REALLY banned for life. Sentimentalists (like myself) have our own reasons for supporting the ban, but they aren't MLB's reasons.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


asterix: "Say what? There's plenty of evidence that Shoeless Joe actually did help throw the Series, despite what John Sayles and W.P. Kinsella would have you believe."

Well, his actual record in the Series seems pretty strong-hitting .375, no errors, threw out five baserunners. And he denied to the grand jury that he made any intentional mistakes. And the other seven players who were banned denied that Jackson was ever at any of their meetings with gamblers.

Look, Jackson may well have been involved in throwing the Series-he did, after all take $5000 after the Series was over. But his guilt is unclear, unlike Rose's.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:13 PM on May 24, 2012


For the record, pretty much all we have to go on in defence of Pete "never betting against his own team" is his word - given by an addict, who got cold-turkeyed by the establishment, not because he turned over a new leaf, and given in the hopes of vindicating himself.

I've never known an addict who wouldn't lie under those circumstances. Hell, one of the ways I can tell when an addict friend is in his addiction is that he lies blatantly, even about inconsequential things.

While it's not enough to damn him alone, Pete Rose's insistence of his (relative) innocence is not worth the air he used to voice it.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:27 AM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


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