Reports from baseball’s Hall of Fame weekend say that Bud Selig is considering the possible reinstatement of Pete Rose, thanks in part to lobbying from current Hall members—i.e., arrogant and confused old men.
The biggest voice—and the one that is possibly the most directly affected—is Hank Aaron‘s. He was widely quoted this weekend for saying that anyone who has been proven to use steroids should be banned from the Hall of Fame. That would conveniently eliminate both the man who broke his biggest record (Barry Bonds) and the man most likely to break it in the future (Alex Rodriguez) … but not Mark McGwire, who is currently being “banned” anyway. He also wants the 102 names from the infamous list of 2003 released, as if that would solve anything.
“My feeling has always been the same – the game of baseball has no place for cheaters,” Aaron said Sunday morning. “There’s no place in the Hall of Fame for people who cheat.”
He’s right cheating is bad. But is using steroids really cheating? Let’s ask another current Hall of Famer:
“I certainly don’t think you can stand up there and hit a Nolan Ryan 100-mph fastball just because you put something in your arm or took a pill,” he said.
Oh, wait … that was Hank Aaron again. But at the same time, Aaron has no problem with Pete Rose joining the club. In the same impromptu press conference, Aaron said that Rose belongs in Cooperstown and he would like to seem him there. He says that Pete’s situation is different than the steroids question. (It is. It’s worse.) But if Pete would just ask for forgiveness and admits his faults, this could all be over.
There’s the rub, isn’t it? Pete Rose doesn’t want forgiveness and will never say he’s sorry. That’s always been part of the “conditions” for the removal of his lifetime ban and that’s why it hasn’t happened yet. Even if Pete does get the ban lifted, he would be relying on the Veteran’s Committee to get him into Cooperstown, which is not a lock. Aaron and two prominent former teammates of Rose (guess who?) have been lobbying Selig on his behalf, but there are just as many Hall members who want to see Rose humbled first. Maybe he broke one of their records?
If there’s one thing that induction weekend never fails to reminds us of, it’s that there is no more arrogant group of people on the planet than Baseball’s Hall of Famers. (Except maybe the baseball writers who put them there.) If you think Rickey Henderson is the new king of that mountain, you’re sadly mistaken. (See also: Reggie Jackson.)