Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Sports: Pete Rose (and Bill James) Exposed

Pete Rose finally admitted he bet on baseball. Hey, how 'bout that?

Thomas Boswell, the Washington Post's chief baseball columnist, nicely explains the reasons why Rose's mea culpa should not gain him reentry into Major League Baseball, which banned him for life in 1989. Boswell describes the position of former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent, who was second-in-command when Rose was banned, on Rose:
"We were misguided [in 1989]. We thought he would be contrite. It just wasn't in him. I wish he were more contrite even now. John Dowd [who headed baseball's investigation] is owed a big apology," said Vincent, adding that Rose even hurt those who tried to defend him. Vincent cites one well-known baseball author who "wrote five pages about how there was 'not a shred of evidence' in the Dowd report" and another "who excoriated us for running roughshod over Pete's rights. Where are those people today?"
The "well-known baseball author" is Bill James. I don't know why Boswell doesn't name him. James has been a Rose apologist since the beginning, and his attacks on John Dowd are well documented. James has been working as a consultant to the Boston Red Sox, whose general manager is a disciple of James' statistical analysis methods. If I were Boston management, I would seriously consider severing all ties to James. For years James insisted Dowd had no evidence, despite the existence of Dowd's report, which presented substantial and credible evidence of Rose's gambling. James essentially argued that Dowd and Vincent were liars. Such an attack on the integrity of the former MLB administration in defense of a man who violated baseball's cardinal rule should not be tolerated in the face of Rose's admission.

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