Friday, January 09, 2004

All Bets are Off

You can rest easy, Phillies fans. In an interview today with the Inquirer's Jim Salisbury, Pete Rose says he never bet on games while he played in Philadelphia. (Talk about localizing the story.) In the Q&A, Rose, ever the huckster, attempts at every turn to deflect attention back to his new book by saying he doesn't want to return to past "allegations." It's like the scene in EDtv in which Ray, promoting his new book, about how his brother, Ed, stole his girlfriend (on national television, no less), appears on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Maher asks whether the book's title, My Brother Pissed on Me, is a literal description of what happened. Ray, played by Woody Harrelson with gleeful cluelessness, looks back stupidly and says only, "It's all in the book."

Regardless of what's in the shamefully titled My Prison without Bars, and regardless of what he says on his own book tour, a lame, too-little, too-late attempt at damage control, the problem for Rose, one which he remains stunningly incapable of comprehending, is one of credibility -- specifically, that he has none. After a career of making it all about him (remember those grim Expos years, when he was engaging in his pitiful death march to Ty Cobb's hits record?), and after 14 years of rampant lying, Rose has absolutely nothing to trade on when he says he didn't bet as a Phillie. (Or when he says anything else, for that matter.) This fading memory would be a study in pathos, if only he possessed a molecule of self-understanding. Instead of being pathetic, Pete Rose is an embarrassment, a spectacle worthy of the public's highest ridicule. Please go home, Pete, and don't come back, at least until you've made a real attempt at redemption. See Stan Hochman's column in today's Daily News for a similar take.


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