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The McGwire-Rose comparisons make no sense

Jan 26, 2010, 2:20 PM EST

ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski can’t see why, if Mark McGwire is allowed to take a job in the game, Pete Rose is not.  Indeed, he spends a couple dozen paragraphs making that equivalency, culminating in this:

Yes, Rose betrayed the game by gambling on baseball. There’s no way
around that elephant in the middle of the dugout. But McGwire, Alex
Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte — admitted PED users — betrayed a similar
trust.

Look, we can argue all day about whether McGwire’s or Rose’s transgressions were worse in the cosmic sense, but before we do that, don’t the people in Rose’s corner have to at least acknowledge that, with Rose, there was actually a rule in place that specifically banned anyone who violated it for life? Wojciechowski makes no mention of it whatsoever. At the same time, don’t they have to acknowledge that there’s not, nor has there ever been, a rule doing the same for PED use?  Wojciechowski likewise fails to mention that.

Blame MLB for having uneven rules in this regard if you must, but there is no injustice being done simply because Pete Rose is being punished pursuant to the rules he violated and Mark McGwire isn’t being banned pursuant to some retroactive rule that a few sportswriters would like to enact.

Oh, and another thing: Wojciechowski repeats a charge I’ve seen over and over again recently:

McGwire issued a statement to The Associated Press and agreed to a
handful of sit-down interviews, but has yet to do a full news
conference (the recent six-minute fiasco in St. Louis doesn’t count).
Put it this way: McGwire hasn’t gone through the full truth car wash.

McGwire sat for an hour with Bob Costas and did interviews with Joe Posnanski, Wojciechowski’s own ESPN colleagues Tim Kurkjian and Bob Ley, every St. Louis writer who matters and several other members of the media.  If Wojciechowski is being serious when he says that’s insufficient, isn’t he saying that his colleagues did a crappy job?

  1. gumbercules - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Wojo’s sanctimonious horseshit nearly made me vomit with rage, for the reasons you mention, Shyster. Apples, meet oranges.

  2. (Not That) Tom - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Man this definitely could have used a “STEROIDS_BobLey_STEROIDS” tag.

  3. Kendall - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    I also think it is significant that McGwire could repeat his transgressions and do PEDs all day long while being the Cards’ hitting coach and not make people question the integrity of a game he was involved in. The same cannot be said for Pete Rose, who might be able to manipulate games or share information for the benefit of gamblers.
    And wouldn’t Pete Rose in a dugout be a DISTRACTION?! We can’t have those in any clubhouse. The Yankees would have had no chance of winning the world series this year if they had to face the kind of distraction either McGwire or Rose would bring to any clubhouse. Oh, wait . . .

  4. Tom - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Didn’t Rose agree to a lifetime ban from baseball?

  5. RicharInDallas - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Craig, you forgot to mention that not only did Rose violate a rule with a specifically prescribed penaly, but THAT RULE, with the penalty to be applied, is posted prominantly in every clubhouse in the big leagues, and has been since 1920. No chance Pete could have missed that…

  6. Nick Whitman - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Oh, please. Using steroids without a physician’s prescription is against the law. Does baseball need to have an official, corresponding rule for everything that’s illegal under federal law?

  7. YANKEES1996 - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Agreed gumbercules, the rantings of Wojo is one largest piles of crap I’ve read lately. Is there nowhere that this subject will not travel to?
    Yes, I also agree with Craig it would seem that Wojo is saying to his colleagues that they did do a crappy job of interviewing. I will be patiently awaiting their response to his accusation.
    He says that McGwire has not done a full news conference, as I remember David Ortiz promised to find out what he tested positive for and why he was on the list and I cannot recall his full news conference either.

  8. Joe L. - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    I once witnessed, outside of a BW3, a man stab another man in the gut with a fishing knife because the stabbee opined that Pete Rose is a bum who should not be in the Hall of Fame. True story.

  9. Phil - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    I have been a Reds’ fan since 1956, my 8th summer on the planet, and I wanted Rose banned at the time and I want that lifetime ban to stand. Rule 21(c) is posted in every clubhouse. The penalty for violating the rule is known to every player, coach and manager. I know the steroid witch hunters will disagree, but violation of 21(c) tears at the fundamental fabric of the game in ways that the use of PEDs doesn’t. I should think that obvious, but Wojciechowski’s column and many of the responses I’ve read here tell me it is not and I’m sure to be excoriated for my remarks.

  10. gumbercules - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen “stabee” used in this context, or in any context really. Well played, sir.

  11. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Nick –Are you seriously proposing a blanket rule that bans all people who break a law be banned for life?

  12. RobRob - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Ortiz did have a press conference (in New York, no less), but I believe that the union prevented him from both finding out if he tested positive and/or for what he might have tested positive.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4385699

  13. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 26, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    That smells like something that would happen in Dayton. It was Dayton, wasn’t it?

  14. Jonny5 - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Well as much as it sucks for Pete, and as much as it is totally not fair to have Him ousted and people who actually cheated with PED’s not ousted……. Da rules is Da rules……. I feel from here on out PED cheats should be banned effective now. They should let the past cheats slide and start doing something now to that effect. Anything else would be uncivilized. As we now see Pro ball players will still do it even today, the POS that they are…. They are illeagal drugs that give you an edge ,an unfair advantage you could say over those who follow the rules.

  15. nfieldr - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    When I first read Wojo’s column, my first thought was “apples and oranges”. How can he, with a straight face, even begin to equate gambling (on baseball) with PED use? Especially, since there are still confessed PED users still PLAYING the game! Besides, McGwire seems to be a decent guy and Rose (at least the 4 or 5 times that I’ve been around him) seems to be a miserable excuse for a human being… but I guess that should be irrelevant.

  16. Nick Whitman - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    No, I’m proposing an end to the asinine argument that since baseball didn’t have a specific rule banning steroids it was totally okay.

  17. Aarcraft - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Did anyone actually make that argument? Totally okay? I don’t see that anywhere.

  18. Kendall - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    It isn’t an asinine argument when there is a collective bargaining agreement that provides the specific rules of the employee-employer relationship. Those rules dictate when an employee can be suspended or fired. Law enforcement could have punished them, but not their employers. Really, this circumstance isn’t all that different than what happens in union work places or in countries that have a “for cause” standard governing employment relationships.

  19. Nick Whitman - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Yeah, actually, I se it everywhere these days. Any argument that ends with letting players who cheated at baseball into the baseball Hall of Fame to be a tacit endorsement of their cheating.

  20. Greg Rodich - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    I have never met more people than reporters who think that they have all the answers. You guys think your opinions are the only ones that matter, when in fact most of you guys are right up there in popularity with Lawyers & politicans. Somewhere along the way you guys have went from reporting facts to telling everyone what & how it needs to be done. I say f$%^ all of you frauds.

  21. Nick Whitman - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    It certainly is an asinine argument as regards the Hall of Fame, which specifically says that “voting shall be based upon the individual’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game.” Integrity, sportsmanship and character being the relevant qualifications in this case.

  22. RobRob - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Make no mistake, WoJo’s article is all about getting Rose back into the game, not about banning McGwire for life.

  23. Jonny5 - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    Rose belongs in the HOF. Mcguire does not. There it is, in black and white and no true baseball fan will argue this fact, If they try they will be plain wrong.

  24. Kendall - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    But this blog entry wasn’t about either individual’s qualifications for the HoF, but rather for a job in baseball. As far as I know, as of right now, neither McGwire and Rose are in the HoF, and neither are likely to be there any time soon.

  25. tbs - Jan 26, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Why should McGwire give a crap what any sportswriter says?
    And why does Pete Rose care so desperately about being inducted into a Hall of Fame decided by sportswriters and cranky old veterans?
    Bill Russell actually refused induction into the Hall of Fame at one point because their opinion of him couldn’t define him.

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