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Tim McCarver says that MLB frowns on its broadcasters acknowledging Pete Rose’s existence

Jul 18, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

I missed this in all of the All-Star stuff, but Tim McCarver was on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday and said that Major League Baseball restricts Fox and ESPN (and presumably TBS) from showing video of Pete Rose. Via Awful Announcing, here’s the relevant snippet:

This during the same week where we noticed that MLB likes to deny the existence of the embarrassing 2002 All-Star Game as well. They rectified that, but it’s not a particularly flattering trait if the league just assumes that, if they don’t acknowledge it, bad stuff goes away.

And heck, in this case it’s not even bad stuff. Pete Rose may have committed a mortal baseball sin when he was the manager of the Reds, but his playing career was amazing and memorable. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a player who defined 1960s-70s baseball more than Pete Rose did. To just airbrush-away his existence as if it were the Soviet Central Committee after a purge is pretty stupid and, frankly, insulting. Does the league think we’ll forget Pete Rose exists if they lean on their rights holders to not show him?

If I run Major League Baseball, I don’t run and hide from my sport’s history. I embrace it like nobody’s business. All of it. Because the bad stuff goes hand-in-hand with the good stuff. If we pretend the Black Sox didn’t happen we forget why we have a Commissioner in the first place. If we pretend the 2002 All-Star Game doesn’t happen we forget why, since then, the All-Star Game determines home field advantage.  If we pretend Pete Rose didn’t dominate baseball for over 20 years we forget that the rules against gambling are so important that even a towering figure like Rose is subject to them.

And if that’s too abstract a line of reasoning, let’s go simpler: if I’m Fox or ESPN and I’m paying Major League Baseball billions of dollars for the rights to show games and promote its sport, I’m promoting all of it, not just the stuff that isn’t embarrassing to some nervous nellies in the league office.

  1. rick2248 - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Who is Pete Rose?

    • blackandbluedivision - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      What about him being on the Sportscenter Top 10 All-star game plays when he ran over Fosse at home, a couple days ago?

  2. flamethrower101 - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    I found it rather laughable when MLB pulled that “Oh the 2002 All-Star Game didn’t happen but now it counts anyway” crap on the scoreboard earlier this week. I’m with you 100%, Craig. MLB cannot have it both ways. They can’t deny that an All-Star game tied AND promote home-field advantage for the World Series. That’s both a double standard and a perfect example of their lack of morals (or intellect)

    And if MLB is going to try and ignore Pete Rose just because he gambled, then they should also act as if Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and all the other steroid users never played the game. But apparently that’s too much work for them.

  3. psudu - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Are they just going to ignore all the PED users too? What is worse, betting in baseball, lying about it and then confessing, or taking PEDs, lying about it and maybe confessing to some of it?

    • El Bravo - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      That is precisely what they want to do with the PED era (previous to this era where they have testing and enforcement). Look at the home run race and the Bonds records. That stuff is barely ever talked about any longer (except when John Rocker speaks his mind) and no one but the SF fans can remeber where they were when Bonds broke the all-time HR record. I can’t even remember what year that was, b/c it was so anti-climactic. With respect to that era, it goes in the MLB’s favor to pretend it didn’t happen since the fans appear to want to forget that era happened as well.

      • flamethrower101 - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        It’s one thing for fans and MLB to want to move on from the steroid era and clean up the game. But to completely ignore the way it shaped the game is downright idiotic. It’s because the steroid era was allowed to happen that created the drug policy we have in place today.

        Was it good for the game? At the time, it wasn’t. And I’ll even argue it’s not good for the game now. But it happened and it would be a greater injustice to completely ignore it than to just take it in context.

      • El Bravo - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        Agreed. But, if you ask your average fan who the top three hitters of all time would be, do you think Bonds would come up? I would say so, personally, but most consider him a cheat and eliminate him from contention entirely.

      • natslady - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        @El Bravo==> Sorry, I disagree. Barry Bonds was a *great* player. I’m really sorry if he took shortcuts in the end of his career. That was not wise, in fact, it was incredibly STUPID. But he was still amazing.

      • El Bravo - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Disagree with who? Can’t be me b/c I agree that he is 1st or 2nd best hitter of all time. I think many would disagree with me/you is all I’m saying. You aren’t a “casual” or “average” fan by my definition. Although, you are giving him some undue credit saying he only cheated toward the end of his career…that’s wishful thinking.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        Can’t be me b/c I agree that he is 1st or 2nd best hitter of all time.

        I’d put him third (Ruth > Williams > Bonds). How Teddy Ballgame gets left out of so many of these discussions is beyond me. Career .344/.482/.634 hitter, 190 OPS+ (second all time) while leading baseball in OBP all with a ton of counting stats even when he missed three seasons for WWI and 1.5 for Korea.

      • natslady - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:16 PM


        OK, I went back and re-read, still not sure what on your opinion of Bond. Me: for a while hated him as a cheater. But I listened to SF fans and players. Now, I dunno. I still think he’s a cheater, but he might not be a total jerk.

    • Alex K - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      You seriously believe that betting on baseball is lesser than steroids/HGH and amphetamines? That is crazy talk.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        You seriously believe that betting on baseball is lesser than steroids/HGH and amphetamines? That is crazy talk.

        Assuming you aren’t being sarcastic, one is taking a substance to make you a better player, the other is directly affecting the integrity of the entire sport. It’s essentially the difference between sports and wrestling/”reality tv”.

      • Alex K - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        Ummm, church, might wanna re-read what I wrote there. I was saying it’s crazy talk to think that betting on baseball is lesser.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        Goddamnit, this is what I get for replying to different threads at the same time. Apologies Alex

      • Alex K - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        It’s cool, man. I’ll let it slide just this once.

    • forsch31 - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      The one distinction between PED users and what happened with Rose is that Rose was actually banned completely from MLB baseball, while PED users have been suspended but continue to play and work in the game. In the league’s eyes, what Rose did was just as bad as what the Black Sox did, and they obviously would prefer to let the incident, and thus the player, fade from the collective memory of baseball fans. For PED users, the issue is a bit more complicated, because you’re talking about a player ethically cheating by taking medical enhancers to boost his own performance, rather than someone using his position to directly manipulate and possibly fix specific games for a financial windfall.

      Also, Rose didn’t confess to betting until after more than a decade of denying he did so. He still denies that he ever bet against the Reds, The official Dowd Report that reveiled his gambling stated that there was no evidence support the idea Rose bet against his team, but Dowd has said in the past decade that if the investigation had been allowed to go longer, he would have been able to prove that Rose did indeed bet against the Reds at times.

  4. mybrunoblog - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    It’s disgraceful that MLB would try to censor out Pete Rose highlights. Bud Selig is almost irrational when it comes to the topic of Rose. Calcaterra is right on. Celebrate the way this guy played. Today’s players (Robinson Cano!) could learn an awful lot but watching Roses hustle and all out play.

  5. losangelesfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Pete Rose should have his own wing in the HOF. I refuse to recognize Bud Selig.

    • ptfu - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Pete Rose already has his own wing at the HOF wing. It’s called “outside”.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Yes…and he will sign autographs for $20.00 in his “outside” wing.

  6. eshine76 - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM


  7. lessick - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    While I agree that is silly that Pete Rose is being erased from history, his transgression is different from PED users.

    PED users are trying to win.

    The gambling restriction tries to prevent team sand players from trying to lose, which cheats the fans in a whole different manner.

    That said, there is no evidence that Pete Rose ever tried to lose a game–Rose was notoriously competitive. However, he touched the third rail, and the existence of that third rail is meant to prevent players from intentionally tanking.

  8. hushbrother - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Pete Rose might offend the f***s at the league office, but he don’t offend Jesus. This bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable, man. Ha ha!

  9. stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    I can’t believe McCarver was so candid about it. I am glad he talked so freely…but it is hard to believe. The guy doesn’t appear to have minced words about it…at all. Good for him.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      It’s his last year in the booth, Lou. The man is letting his hair down. If he had a bra, he’d burn it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Ahhh…you are right Sandy. I forgot about him retiring.

  10. sabatimus - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Yep, MLB, if you ignore Pete Rose, I’ll have no idea who he is. You know, the guy with the most career hits out of anyone who ever played the game? Never heard of him. Thanks to MLB, my brain is now a sieve.

  11. DJ MC - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    I watched highlights of the 1970 All-Star Game on MLB Network recently (either Tuesday or Wednesday) and the entire segment was built around Rose and Fosse, with lots of video and interviews with both.

    I don’t think MLB is necessarily censoring him out of the history, but I can see them telling current broadcasters to avoid bringing him up to prevent renewed discussion over his status. I can especially see them telling McCarver that due to his prominence and being from the same generation of players.

  12. missingdiz - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Pete Rose didn’t define the 60s-70s (as if the 60s & 70s were the same) for me. I couldn’t stand the guy. I still can’t stand the guy–he’s a tacky self-promoter. But, he was a great baseball player. In a sense he was a latter-day Ty Cobb (without the racism, as far as I know). So, he shouldn’t be unmentionable and he should be in the Hall of Fame, although the whole story should be told. Betting on baseball is a worse crime than taking some kind of substance to try to improve your game. The guy was (I hope no longer is) a gambling addict. Evidently he stopped short of throwing games, but the line needs to be drawn farther away from the brink. Still, the main point is to tell the whole story and recognize his greatness as a player. Baseball is all about stories, not enforced silences.

  13. xmatt0926x - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Over the long run, doesn’t Pete get much more attention by constantly being talked about by fans and ex players who want him in the hall of fame as opposed to if they would have just let him in at some point in the past?

    He would have gotten his 5 new minutes of fame during his induction, maybe a few months of heated debate by those for and against, then it seems it would have died down to next to nothing for years to come. Yeah, he’d come up here and there as a debate topic of qualities needed to be in the hall of fame, but mostly he’d be an afterthought.

    Most young fans under 35 wouldn’t think twice about “that guy from the 70’s”. For me he’s in the suspected PED users category. Put them in for what they accomplished on the field and let the fans make their own judgements.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      For me he’s in the suspected PED users category. Put them in for what they accomplished on the field and let the fans make their own judgements.

      You don’t think there’s a difference between breaking baseball’s cardinal rule, and the players who maybe/sorta/kinda broke a MLB rule that was never being enforced*?

      *not actually true, but that’s not the point of the question

  14. ndnut - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I’m 16. I only know about Pete Rose from knowing the all time hits leader, which I know from a book of records. My dad never talked about him until I brought him up. If you limit his exposure to younger fans, he will eventually go away (especially if someone breaks his record).

    • missingdiz - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Ndnut–right on, as we used to say in Rose’s day. In a way that’s the point. Baseball fans don’t want him to be forgotten. Anymore than we want Joe Jackson to be forgotten (google him). When I was a bit younger than you, the wise men (women weren’t allowed in decision-making circles then) decided to start integration (i.e., of black and white people) in my small Virginia town in the same way it started nationally, with baseball. So, my Little League team suddenly acquired a great lead-off hitter, a left-handed pull hitter, and a great little left-handed pitcher. And we, i.e., the town, moved on from there. It was the Jackie Robinson story that sunk in, even among the racists that ran my town. The Pete Rose story is important, too, although I don’t see him as entirely heroic. One last thing, unless they allow robots to play, nobody’s going to get more hits than Pete Rose, in my opinion. Maybe if Ichiro had started with us at age 20, but that wasn’t the case.

      • jeffbbf - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball” – Pete Rose

        That’s how I felt about it when I was a kid, and to a certain extent now as I coach my kids.

        That’s why Pete Rose was a guy we all looked up to when we were kids.

        That’s what I’d like to see a little more of in the players today (kids/teenagers/pros, etc).

        Broke my heart when he was banned. The other stuff – we never noticed much in his playing days. He was certainly no worse than the players today.

        The autograph selling, tv show, etc. I just ignore – and remember what a great player he used to be. Fun to watch.

        PS: When I was a kid, a friend of mine had a book of celebrity home addresses. Pete Rose was in it. I mailed him a baseball card with a handwritten note and a SASE. He signed the card and mailed it back. For free.

  15. chip56 - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Here’s the thing that everyone forgets about the Rose situation. He accepted a lifetime ban from baseball. As I read it that means that when he dies he can and should go into the Hall of Fame, but not before then.

    It was his choice, he made it. Whining about the consequences is just weak.

    • txraiderfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Sort of like signing on the drug test policy at work… You know it’s Nazi BS, but you’re forced to “make a choice”. I’m not advocating drug use, I’m just saying sometimes you really don’t have a “choice”

      • chip56 - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        Well sure you do – go work someplace else.

  16. txraiderfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Ryan “Steroid King” Bran can be given a free pas by Bud Selig… Coincidentally, owner of the Brewers (ahem, conflict of interest), but Pete Rose can’t be mentioned? WTF

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Bud Selig… Coincidentally, owner of the Brewers

      No, he’s not. He had to give up his ownership stake when he became commissioner.

      • georgiared - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:15 AM

        The brewers are “owned” by his daughter. If you think he doesn’t still look out for them, you’re kidding yourself

  17. txraiderfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Ryan “Steroid King” Bran can be given a free pass by Bud Selig… Coincidentally, owner of the Brewers (ahem, conflict of interest), but Pete Rose can’t be mentioned? WTF

  18. txraiderfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Pete Rose didn’t “juice up”

  19. txraiderfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Bud Selig = Conflict of interest

  20. spoiledbratswhosuck - Jul 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    MLB turning a blind eye to PEDS and turning baseball into a gloried SOFTBALL BEER LEAGUE is far worse.

    Pete Rose was, is and will always be a better hitter than any of the PED punks playing the game and calling it baseball. Pete Rose played the game harder and gave better effort than all of them.


    Rod Carew
    Tony Gywnn
    Thurman Munson
    Fred Lynn

    etc etc etc. Those guys could wake up on Xmas morning and hit a “rope” anywhere this wanted

    Selig era baseball sucks………………………a fish rots from the head down.

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