The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Charlie's Still Hustlin'

I'm sure no one woulda guessed it, but there was a time that I considered myself a baseball fan. Oh, it's been years and it's pretty effectively worn off. Sure, there are times when I catch myself changing channels and pause, almost instinctively, as a familiar name catches my ear. Sadly, it's likely the offspring...::groan::...of someone I remember.

Living in River City, I found myself drawn to the Big Red Machine in the late 1970's. I had just a little crush on Johnny Bench. Mostly it was his eyes, but the incredible leg muscles were part of it, too.

There. I've admitted it.

My Dad, who embraces all things baseball, basketball and football, has ALWAYS been a die-hard Yankees fan. And, admittedly, mostly because I still consider myself a New Yorker, I have a sentimental affection for them as well. But, I never really considered myself a true fan.

My friends were all Reds' fans (as it's the closest major league team to River City), and I considered myself one, too. He, of only daughters and grandaughters, found some solace in the fact that at least I was enjoying baseball and, I'm sure, figured he'd get me turned around on my team alliances a little further down the road.

That day never came, though. Like so many other things from my childhood, the baseball fandom was left by the wayside. Making room for partying with my friends and for chasing boys, I suppose. Geez.

Never really a cheerleader for Pete Rose, but he was a pretty integral part of that World Championship team, so I rooted for him. I held him in some esteem, because he had been part of that special line-up with Johnny and Joe Morgan and Ken Griffey. Part of me was pleased to see him later managing the team. Part of me felt pity for anyone who had to put up with Marge Schott on a day to day basis. ::shiver::

I gotta tell you, though, the way he has handled himself through all of this gambling nonsense (and the accompanying drama of his refusal to accept any personal responsibility, fighting with commissioners, and the much later admission of guilt) has really made me wonder what the hell I was thinking in the 70's.

Pete, you were an outstanding baseball player, and maybe that's where I should leave it. As a man, sir, you simply have no character. Unfortunately, the folks over in Cooperstown take integrity and "playing by the rules" almost as seriously as they take the childhood hero thing. I realize that sticks in your craw.

I'm no expert, Pete, but I'm thinking maybe you should consider refraining from further reloading and firing at your wingtips. Aren't you out of toes by now anyway?

I guess not.

'Cause the latest is that there are baseballs you signed admitting to betting on the game being auctioned off.

Oh, Pete. When will ya learn? Can't keep a rein on your secrets if you're writing them down and flinging them out into the world!

Bad enough you did it, must you remove all doubt as to your overall intellectual prowess as well? Not to mention that you're totally screwing with my childhood memories. Hard to do the whole "remembering fondly" thing when you keep showing up in the news doing something else stupid! GAH!


Blogger MJ Norton said...

I simply could never get worked up over any of this. Since none of his gambling activities had any direct impact on his records and achievements in the game (unlike someone whose achievements were due in part to steroids) the persistent line taken with Pete has struck me as overly harsh.

His gambling addiction's seen him barred from the game and publicly disgraced, but he still honestly accomplished all the things he did on the diamond. To deny him the recognition for it in the Hall of Fame when there are some pretty nasty, racist characters already in there..?

I know, I know, baseball's has had to take a hard line on anything to do with gambling since the Black Sox scandal, but at what point does the punishment stop?

If I'm going to jeer at him it'll be for his haircut. The gambling's cost the man more than enough on its own. At least, that's in the humble opinion of this non-fan of the game.

::snap snap:: Hey! Pay attention! Stop looking at Johnny's gams!

9/19/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

For the record, Mike, I think the man should be inducted in the Hall of Fame. Just for the reasons you note. He had the chops to play some pretty serious ball. My complaint is that he keeps making obvious and stupid mistakes (according to the guidelines of the career and the industry with which he chose to align himself...not to mention some that are in direct violation of decorum, period). The fact that the commissioners have made a game of torturing him (as some kind of example) wouldn't have nearly the staying power if he didn't keep giving them justification for their crap.

Both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were banned from baseball because of a gambling violation. But both of their cases were overturned. (Not identical in nature with Rose, but still, it's possible.) The difference is that they didn't handle it the same TERRIBLE way that Pete has.

Oh, and that wasn't Johnny's gams I was looking at...oh, that was bad.

9/19/2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you hear Rose is now trying to capitalize on the signed baseballs by offering copies of his book signed the same way? I won't wager that anybody will fall for it.

Baseball fandom is usually generational. My dad was not a fan, so I never really picked it up. I enjoy games, never liked keeping stats, whatever. I like bicycle racing, where at least the cheaters have the decency to use illegal drugs rather than merely bet on the game. And my dad and I used to watch NASCAR races together. But all in all, any sport is just a game. A game in which the players are paid well and don't even have to like competing.

- Texas T-bone

9/21/2006 10:23 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

If he hadn't bet on games he was in or managing, I'd be shocked that he wasn't in the HoF. Since he did both of those things, I'm glad he never will be.

Character means more than skills and stats.

9/23/2006 10:27 PM  

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