On the Mark: Hey Selig, keep Rose out of Hall

Once again, there is talk that baseball commissioner Bud Selig is considering reinstating Pete Rose.

Say it ain’t so, Bud.

I don’t care how many hits Rose has. And I don’t care how many alleged degenerates are in baseball’s Hall of Fame, which just happens to be the most sacred sports museum in the United States, maybe the world. Rose is a skell, and doesn’t deserve to be in Cooperstown.

The criteria for induction of prospective members are “character, integrity, sportsmanship and contributions to the teams for whom they played.” By “character,” voters are obliged to consider not a man’s citizenship, but his conduct within the game. You don’t have to feed starving children. But you must have fidelity to the institution of baseball. And by that measure, Rose is an especially deceitful creature.

He’s not Shoeless Joe Jackson, whose banishment has become the subject of a historic debate. His accomplishments have not been excised from the record books. No one’s denying he’s the all-time hit leader. Still, even in post-millennial American, some ethical imperatives remain to be observed. Pete Rose bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. He was so brazen as to place his wagers from the dugout. But worst of all, he had the gall to deny it all — in the most vehement terms, even going so far as to sue baseball — for 15 years.

He’s been to prison for tax evasion. He was hanging out with low-life steroid dealers before it was the rage. He’s a liar, through and through.

A recap, for the kids:

In 1989, confronted with overwhelming evidence based on the famous Dowd Report — detailing 52 instances in which he bet at least $10,000 on the 1987 Reds — he accepted his banishment. A year later, he went to jail. Upon his release, he became a full-time autograph hustler, a sports-radio loudmouth and a pro wrestling heel.

Typical was this bit I cite from Wikipedia, an excerpt of an interview during the ’99 World Series:

Jim Gray: … the American public is very forgiving. Are you willing to show contrition, admit that you bet on baseball and make some sort of apology to that effect?

Pete Rose: Not at all, Jim. I’m not going to admit to something that didn’t happen.

In 2004, in his second autobiography (the first, of course, categorically denied the baseball gambling allegations), he admitted to gambling on the Reds, but only to win. The book came out in January 2004, the same week Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor were voted into the Hall.

“I am a little disappointed in the timing of it,” Molitor said at the time. “Does it take away from the current class? … In my mind, I think it does, a little bit.”

But never mind Rose’s shamelessness. And never mind, for the sake of argument, baseball’s Rule 21, which states that any employee of a major league club who “shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.” Consider the nights that Rose didn’t bet the Reds. He might as well have been tipping off all the bookmakers in America.

Now comes the news from New York Daily News baseball writer Bill Madden that some of the game’s most prominent Hall of Famers have lobbied for Rose’s reinstatement. Among them is Hank Aaron, who now also wants an asterisk by the names of the steroid cheats. Funny, just a couple of years ago, Aaron — one of the commissioner’s close friends — did a video honoring Barry Bonds breaking his home run record.

Look, I understand how Aaron could feel nostalgic and sympathetic for a contemporary. I understand that a generation weaned on legal lotteries, video poker and Indian casinos may not fully comprehend Rose’s transgressions. But those who claim to hold the game dear — the commissioner first among them — should know better.

Enough is enough. The Hall shouldn’t be the forum for a debate on moral relativism. Just for once, don’t let the liar win.

On the Mark

So Tim Tebow is a virgin. At least now we know how it is that a quarterback can run so angry.

Just a couple days into training camp and Terrell Owens has already become the most over-exposed athlete in the history of Buffalo.

Plus, I’m sure Michael Vick appreciated his “kicking a dead horse” reference.

Penn State, which doesn’t play on the road until after hockey season starts, has home games against Akron, Syracuse, Eastern Illinois and Temple.

What, Brown wasn’t available?

Who has a higher on-base percentage than Ichiro and Derek Jeter, more RBIs than Kevin Youkilis and Lance Berkman, more stolen bases than Jimmy Rollins and as of Monday afternoon, a batting average 30 points higher than Mark Teixeira?

Bobby Abreu, at $5 million per.

So why can’t the Sabermetrics guys come up with a stat denoting Bang for the Buck?

ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Journalistic Ethics, covered a sexual assault lawsuit against the Lakers’ third-string point guard, Shannon Brown, but ignored a similar action against Super Bowl hero Ben Roethlisberger.

Contrary to widely held opinion, this had absolutely nothing to do with the quarterback’s impending appearance on a reality show that just happened to air on another Disney-owned network, ABC.

Rather, as ESPN’s director of news said, it was a matter of timing. The allegations against Brown were made during the playoffs.

“It was reasonable to assume the charges might have impact on the court,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

So let that be a lesson to any prospective shakedown artists: File during the postseason.

Finally, after Roethlisberger’s nationally televised response forced ESPN’s hand, the network identified his accuser by name.

ESPN.com, for the record, declined to identify Brown’s accuser.

So while I might be a little conflicted here, working for FOX, I just can’t resist:

ESPN News. We Decide. Then We Report.

When the season started, Kyle Busch was the next Dale Sr.

Now he looks like the next Dale Jr.

As for Junior, there’s something to be said for consistency. Guy hasn’t won a race since there was a white president.

Speaking of the chief executive, the best thing that could ever come out of this beef between the white cop and the black Harvard professor is a David Mamet play.

Here’s a tip: Marty Appel’s exceedingly informative and well-done biography of Thurman Munson.

It’ll help get you through these thrill-a-minute Roy Halladays.