Tim and The ‘Mudge can provide much deeper insight on the topic of baseball than I ever can. However, for some odd reason, I am hooked on the discussions about the banning of Pete Rose from ever entering the Hall of Fame.
For those of you like me who know little about the history or passion of the game, Rose admitted to betting on games (including those he played in) and was ousted from the game for life. There is no question in anyone’s mind that he would be a shoe-in for the Hall if not for this transgression. The trouble, for me, with this permanent ban from the game is that I believe Charlie Hustle (Rose’s nickname) would rather have lost money on a bet than lose a game. That’s the passion that he played with.
Today, he’s busy signing autographs and watching the game on television. And baseball is worse without him.
USA Today’s John Saraceno captures a quote from Rose that, in my mind, shows Rose’s contrition and absolute passion to help make the game better — for the game, not for Pete Rose:
“I’m a teacher. I’m a leader; I’m not a follower. I watch two or three games every day during the baseball season. It drives me crazy when I turn on the TV and see some of these cities, see the empty seats. Every seat at a ballpark is for (a body) every night. That’s why they make ’em.”
“I don’t know,” he says, “but you’d have to think that I’m young enough to get a four- or five-year contract. Obviously, I could make more in some cities. … I don’t want to be arrogant, but if you own a baseball team and you don’t want to win or put people in the seats, don’t call me.”
These are the things that winners and leaders are made of.