Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Apparently not everyone is impressed with Charley Hustler's recent mea culpa. After reading excerpts of Pete Rose's autobiography published in Sports Illustrated, former baseball commissionner Fay Vincent told the Associated Press, "There's no sense of regret, no sense of shame, no sense of the damage he did to baseball. I guess I'm really disgusted. I think the whole thing is a sordid, miserable story. It's sort of like turning over a stone -- you see a lot of maggots, and it's not very pretty.''

Vincent is probably referring to the part where Rose writes: I've consistently heard the statement: `If Pete Rose came clean, all would be forgiven,' Well, I've done what you've asked. The rest is up to the commissioner and the big umpire in the sky. In other words, I've intoned the required script, now give me what's rightfully mine.

Charley Hustler also insisted in his book that he never placed bets on baseball from the clubhouse. Yet, the Associated Press reported: Thomas Gioiosa, who used to share a house with Rose and ran bets for him, contradicted Rose on Tuesday, saying he did place bets from the Reds' clubhouse. "I was there, and we did it every day," Gioiosa said.

Roger Kahn, who worked with Rose on the player's first autobiography, fumed, "I feel he has embarrassed me. I must have asked Pete 20 times, `Did you bet on baseball?' He would look at me, blink his eyes and say, `I didn't bet baseball. I have too much respect for the game.'''

Perhaps accidentally slipping out of martyr mode, Rose does make one germaine point that baseball should consider. [If I] had been an alcoholic or a drug addict, baseball would have suspended me for six weeks and paid for my rehabilitation. I should have had the opportunity to get help, but baseball had no fancy rehab for gamblers like they do for drug addicts. If I had admitted my guilt, it would have been the same as putting my head on the chopping block -- lifetime ban. Death penalty. I spent my entire life on the baseball fields of America, and I was not going to give up my profession without first seeing some hard evidence (as though he needed outside evidence to prove he bet on baseball???). Right or wrong, the punishment didn't fit the crime -- so I denied the crime, he continued.

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