#Hot Corner

Yes, Pete Rose has suffered enough

Andy Lyons

If you haven't read anything substantial about Pete Rose in ... oh, let's say the last year or so, I will recommend that you read Joe Posnanski's latest essay about Pete Rose. The great majority of Joe's essay is simply about Pete Rose's personality and his career and the intertwined natures of those (while, it might be said, leaving out most of the uglier parts).

But it's Joe's conclusion that I'd like to mention:

We tend to believe as a country that, most of the time, even for dreadful wrongs, there’s a way back. There are second chances. And those second chances are not just given to people who apologize in a fulfilling way or have a gift for seeming contrite.

Pete Rose played baseball with an intensity and love that might be unmatched in the game’s history. He cracked more hits and reached base more times than anyone ever. He represented a way to play baseball that inspired millions of people. Then, he gambled on games, breaking one of baseball’s most cherished rules. Rose is 72 years old now, and I think it’s time to let him back into the game. I don’t think anyone should ask him to apologize again or come any cleaner than he has. I don’t think anyone should expect Pete Rose to be something that he is not. It has been almost 25 years. He has paid his debt.

I write about this every two or three years, I guess. I believed from the beginning that Rose did bet on baseball, and I believed that he deserved the permanent suspension that he got. But I later came to believe that while his crime merited a serious penalty, this penalty was too serious. I came to believe that 10- or a 15- or a 20-year suspension might do just as much to discourage gambling as the permanent suspension. And so I came to believe that the rule should be changed, with Rose being released from Bud Selig's Baseball Purgatory the very next moment.

At this point, it's abundantly clear that Selig isn't going to change his mind. So let's just add this to the long list of Good Things that should happen when Commissioner Bud finally gives up that Manhattan office in the sky that he's occupied for so bloody long.

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