Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Rose doesn’t need
the Hall to live his life

POOR Pete Rose. Poor, poor Pete Rose. He's not in the Hall of Fame. It breaks his heart. You can see the sadness on his face, they say. He's suffered lo these many years.

He might not make it through the night.

I was driving into work today, and heard one of his former players on the radio:

Can't you see what this is doing to him?

Oh, the humanity.

Ah, yes, Pete is wasting away because there is not a statue of his head to commemorate his greatness.

Because, like 99.999999 percent of the world, he has to get on with his life. He's no longer allowed to hang out in a clubhouse, sit in a dugout, baseball uniform snug around an expanding waistline, spitting.

He's reduced to doing Maaco commercials. That would depress anyone but Burt Reynolds.

(It looks like they've done a quick and easy paint job on Pete's head.)

Oh, the sadness.

The suffering.

CORRECT ME IF I am wrong, but didn't Rose agree to this lifetime ban from baseball? That fact seems to have escaped us in this most recent debate, but I seem to recall Rose accepting his punishment when it was first dished out.

(I remember that a lot more clearly than I remember the first Pres. Bush being subject to an assassination attempt by Saddam Hussein. Seriously, when did that happen? I know it's all over the news now, even the subject of speeches to the United Nations, but I have no memory of this. Was I asleep when it was announced the first time?)

Perhaps Rose did not understand what "lifetime" meant.

Let this be a cautionary tale in always reading the fine print.

But Rose did sign that paper that Bart Giamatti put in front of him.

And every so often the campaign cranks up again, the despair reaches a fever pitch. Always, Rose is ignored, or denied. Now there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Now it starts all over again.

Can't you see what this is doing to him?

He's had to suffer as a regular citizen, one without a museum exhibit in his honor. What will he do, without a bust of himself in his youth, preserving the Prince Valiant haircut for generations to come?

The human rights violations never stop.

Yes of course Rose's accomplishments as a player merit induction into baseball's Hall of Fame. As a player, he was inspiring. He was awesome. Unfortunately, that's beside the point.

Sometimes, life isn't fair.

Or, depending on your point of view on gambling in baseball, maybe it is.

Some say that they (you know, "They") can never take Rose's playing accomplishments away from him. This is the point, but Rose is missing it. Everyone knows how good he was. That hasn't faded. Those memories will always be with him. People will talk about Pete Rose for as long as baseball is played.

And yet even that isn't enough. He can't grow up, he can't let go, he can't get on with his life. So he's not in the Hall of Fame. So what? That's going to ruin your life?

Apparently it is.

This is a guy who has thousands of people clamoring to buy something on which he's scribbled his name. This is a guy who got a major-league hit more than 4,000 times. He heard the crack of that bat, the roar of the crowd and rounded first base running through a dream. And these people surround him, support him, because they would give up a limb to feel that way just once.

And yet he's a victim now. He's heartbroken. He's suffering. He just can't go on unless he's in the Hall of Fame.

Ah, the sadness. I wish Pete could handle this differently. Because sometimes life isn't fair.

And sometimes it is.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at

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