Maybe you missed the story. Maybe you were so consumed by the NFL postseason that you didn't see the news coming out of Cincinnati last week. It had nothing to do with Vontaze Burfict or Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, but it was every bit as offensive. The Reds are going to induct Pete Rose into their Hall of Fame this summer, retire his No. 14 jersey and build a statue of him outside Great American Ball Park.
It is not surprising.
The Reds are like any other organization in sports. They pander to their fans and give 'em what they want. That's why they introduced Rose before the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati even though he is banned from baseball. They still probably can hear the raucous "Pete! Pete!" chants there.
Reds fans are like fans everywhere. They will sell their soul to the devil to win.
Reds fans don't care that Rose bet on baseball — breaking the No. 1 rule of any sport — and then lied about it for years. They don't care that Rose was sentenced to five months in prison and fined $50,000 for cheating on his taxes.
I mean, really, so what?
Rose is baseball's all-time hits leader, right?
His 4,256 hits trump all.
What's troubling about the Reds' decision to try to make Rose a hero forever is the timing. Just a month earlier, commissioner Rob Manfred had turned down Rose's request for reinstatement into baseball, assuring with near certainty that Rose, 74, won't live long enough to be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame. Rose had agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989, because of overwhelming evidence that he bet on Reds games when he was their manager. An ESPN Outside The Lines report in June claimed Rose's gambling on baseball went back even further, to his days as a player. ESPN's proof was a notebook belonging to Rose business associate Michael Bertolini that showed Rose bet on games as a player.
"This nails down the connection to organized crime on Long Island and New York," John Dowd told ESPN.
Dowd, who did the initial airtight investigation into Rose's betting as manager, did not have access to Bertolini's records. "The implications for baseball are terrible," Dowd told ESPN.
That isn't going to stop the Reds from honoring Rose. In doing so, they will thumb their nose not just at Manfred, but all of baseball. Just as it is with Rose, they don't believe the rules of the game should apply to their team. Just as it is with Rose, they couldn't care less about the integrity of the game.
Shame on the Reds. Shame on Manfred for allowing the Reds to proceed with the Rose festivities.
Rose is the big winner here, but baseball is the loser.
This is a disgrace to baseball.
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)