Charlie Hustle’s Last Stand

December 17, 2015

By Paul Bown
BDA Sports Editor emeritus

Two days ago, Robert D. Manfred Jr., the Commissioner of Baseball, went up and in on the matter of Peter Edwin Rose’s application for removal from baseball’s Permanently Ineligible List. As virtually any reasonably sentient sports fan knows Pete Rose was banned from the sport for violating Major League Rule 21 which forbids betting on baseball by coaches and players.

To borrow from the Trekkies, Rule 21 has been the Prime Directive of baseball since the time of Judge Landis. You bet on baseball you are banished. Reasonable minds have opined that in the age of baseball’s rather relatively clement approach to guys that violate the semi-recent penalties for using steroids and greenies Rose’s punishment is too harsh. Reasonable minds have also pointed out that while betting on football and basketball is epidemic both legal or no, nobody really bets baseball anymore until the playoffs. Thus goes the argument that the current Commissioner, like 3 of his predecessors, are coming down too hard on Rose.

This is, of course, complete bullshit. I am a lawyer. Allow me to walk you down a simple path.

On August 23, 1989, Rose signed what amounted to a Consent Decree in which he AGREED TO BE PLACED ON THE PERMANENTLY INELIGIBLE LIST. Strike One as they say. I would say One, Two and Three. But that’s me.

In his latest appeal to the new Commissioner, Rose’s lawyers allowed as how he had heeded the late and former Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s direction to “reconfigure his life” before applying for reinstatement.

But he’s still betting on baseball. Or was during the relevant time frame when he had to fake going straight. Albeit legally in Vegas but still the Prime Directive is the Prime Directive.

Not that Rose was up front about it according to the Decision. Footnote 2 to the terse 4 page decision states that:

“EVEN MORE TROUBLING, IN OUR INTERVIEW, ROSE INITIALLY DENIED BETTING ON BASEBALL CURRENTLY AND ONLY LATER IN THE INTERVIEW DID HE “CLARIFY” HIS RESPONSE TO ADMIT SUCH BETTING.”

Yeah. He forgot he laid down bets on baseball in Vegas. I would forget that yeah?

You sign a Consent Decree you are bound by it. You lie to the Judge you lose.

It’s pretty simple to me.


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