12 December 2002

Rose Trampled Under-Foot

John Dowd was interviewed yesterday by the New York Post, according to this article on ESPN.com. Dowd said not only that Rose bet on the Reds (as he has said many times) but also that there was a trail of evidence that would have led to the conclusion that Rose actually bet against his own team, and that if not for certain "time constraints," evidence of such would have been included in the Dowd Report. Dowd also said that he heard that part of the reinsttement process for Rose, should it actually take place, would entail his being hired as the manager of the Reds, replacing incumbent Bob Boone, which of course has been denied by Reds ownership. Whatever you think of Bob Boone as a manager (and believe me, there aren't many who think much good about him) you'd have to feel sorry for a guy who lost his job to a pariah like Rose. The story also says,

"Among his litany of problems with Rose, Dowd told the Post, is that he has seen no evidence over the past 13 years that Rose "reconfigured his life" as Giamatti asked the baseball great to do at the time of his banishment. Thus, Dowd sees no reason to make Rose the first player ever allowed back from the permanently ineligible list."

Now I know that a lot of my blogging and/or ranting colleagues don't exactly think the world of Mr. Dowd, or of his report, so I will not defend the report, as it is not necessary in this case. My opinion happens to be that Rose actually is guilty of betting on baseball games, probably ones in which he was involved. To me, whether or not he bet against his team is immaterial. There is no distinction made for this in Rule 21, and I don't see it as any worse than betting on your team. However, most of America would likely not agree with me on this issue, and would think that betting against your own team is a more egregious sin than betting on them, and therefore what Dowd says is almost certainly intended to influence public pinion against Pete Rose, and more specifically, against his potential reinstatement.

Last time I checked, we still had a Right to Free Speech in this country, so Dowd can pretty much say (and the Post can print) whatever he wants. I happen to be generally on Dowd's side in this matter, as I mentioned yesterday, but I think that his actions are totally inappropriate. Besides an unmasked effort to supplant Jayson Stark as the King of Unsubstantiated Rumor, this just isn't fair to anybody: Rose, MLB, or the Fans. In a world where many of us only have time to read the headlines, seeing "Dowd: Rose Bet Against Reds" in a newspaper or on a semi-respectable website like ESPN, it is completely unfair and irresponsible to go around saying and writing things like this.

It's one thing for him to go on record saying that his investigation revealed [blah, blah, blah] and that therefore he thinks that Peter Edward Rose, Sr. is guilty of [yadda, yadda]. It is an entirely different animal for Dowd to say "I don't have any proof of this, but if I was given the chance, I could have proven that Pete Rose was guilty of [yadda-yadda]". According to some, the 225-page report and seven volumes of exhibits that currently constitute the Dowd Report are far from conclusive on the issue, but now we have to consider Dowd's opinion, based on unsubmitted and/or non-existent evidence that he thinks might have been out there?!?! If he was just given more time? This is jibberish, at its most basic level. Manipulative, insulting jibberish. Dowd has every right to express an opinion, even to say that Rose is guilty of something that he thinks his research proves. Despite what some of my colleagues have said, Dowd is not prevented by the agreement that Pete Rose signed in August of 1989 from making any kind of statements. But he shouldn't be allowed to just slander Pete Rose with impunity, no matter what kind of crooked louse the guy may otherwise be.

Besides this, Dowd's comments don't even stand up under scrutiny. How much more time did he need? The investigation took about two years to complete, and I don't remember anyone previously saying that there was some kind of deadline on it. Why haven't we previously heard about this some time in the last thirteen years? Is there new evidence? Where is it? Why isn't Bud the Evil Fairy Godfather being presented with it instead of the NY Post? And how the hell does John Dowd know whether or not Rose has "reconfigured his life"? Has he been following him around to all of the gambling parlors and whorehouses Rose may have visited in the last decade? Doesn't ha have anything better to do?

And when is somebody going to inform Dowd that there have been several people removed from the permanently inelligible list? I said as much myself, with only a little research, at the end of this post. I really wish that the interviewers of people like John Dowd (or Pete Rose, or Bud Selig, or anyone else) would challenge these assertions and hold people accountable for what they say on public record. But, as is usually the case, newspapers just report what they hear, and worry about details like "accuracy", "responsibility" and "truth" later.

Pete Rose tips his cap to John Dowd for 

making Rose, an otherwise despicable man, into a
sympathetic figure. Pudgy, but sympathetic.

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