Now 80, Pete Rose remains defiant as he’ll pick baseball games for bettors | Opinion

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Mac Engel
·3 min read
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To celebrate his 80th birthday, Pete Rose did what most octogenarians do and had a conference call with the media to announce he’s providing baseball picks, for a price.

There are no less than 25 “moral of the stories” from the ballad of Pete Rose, among them being there are some heroes you should never meet.

Don’t be surprised when they end up being human.

There is no new angle with Pete. There is nothing else we need or want to know. You may not care enough about Pete Rose to read four sentences into this column.

While so many players of his generation have aged gracefully, such as Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan, or are now gone, such as Joe Morgan and Lou Brock, Pete keeps on “Pete’ing.”

He remains a head first slide into any topic, blissfully unaware of anything other than his need to score a run.

On Wednesday, a betting site called announced Rose as a new spokesperson who, for subscribers, will provide baseball picks. A job made for Pete Rose.

The irony is few were better playin’ ball than Pete Rose, but his unwillingness to play ball off the diamond killed his chances to join Cooperstown.

The other irony is the verb that got Pete in so much trouble in the ‘80s is now out in the open and accepted by all of pro sports, including baseball.

“Pickin’ games on UPick doesn’t make me a bad person,” Rose said on Wednesday. “I am somebody that’s really interested in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Why is baseball doing what they are doing? Dollars.

“They’re not stupid. Baseball was kinda stubborn, and worried about gambling. Gambling is a big part of our country right now. It’s like your mother, or grandma, going to play bingo. It’s fun and you can win.”

Yes, Pete Rose is just like your grandma who drives up to WinStar in Oklahoma to play the nickel slots.

Maybe had Pete Rose in the ‘70s and ‘80s only bet on the horses, football, basketball, hockey, golf, track, ping pong, women’s tennis, rowing, water polo, bowling and not baseball, MLB would not have been punitive with its punishment.

Once he bet on the games he was managing, he was done. MLB should have banned him for life, and the Hall of Fame should have inducted him with an asterisk.

His legacy is intact: He is the greatest hitter who ever lived, and he’s a pure gambler.

He has no interest in changing, or even pretending. He didn’t when he was suspended, and he doesn’t now.

“I got suspended in 1989. That’s 32 years ago,” Rose said, who lives in Las Vegas. “I’m not going to live the rest of my life worrying about going to baseball’s Hall of Fame. If I’m ever bestowed that honor, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world. Me picking games for customers should never hurt my opportunity to get into the Hall of Fame someday.”

Pete Rose was never a hero. He was just a damn good hitter whose passion for gambling ended his chances at induction in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

That’s his legacy.