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Local Editorials

From our archives: Rose banned, but for how long?

What we thought: 25 years ago

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Gazette on Aug. 25 and 28, 1989.

Pete Rose and

baseball’s ‘ban’

If there was one word to describe what happened in the world of sports on Thursday, in a story that had been unfolding, unfolding and unfolding for several months, it has to be: cop-out. Cop-out as in, well, cop-out.

What happened, of course, is that Major League Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti decreed that Peter Edward Rose, baseball’s all-time hit leader, would be banned from baseball. For life. Or did he?

The question arises because it’s not all that clear that he will be.

From what he said Thursday, it seems that Pete Rose, himself, figures the ban doesn’t mean all that much.

“As you can imagine, this is a very sad day,” he said. “I’ve been in baseball three decades and to think I’m gonna be out of baseball for a very short period of time hurts.”

“Very short period of time?”

C’mon, fellas. Be real.

Technically, he has something, of course – since, under the rules of baseball, he can appeal for reinstatement after one year.

When you reflect on what has happened, you have to hand it to the now-former Cincinnati Reds manager. Charlie Hustle really finessed the whole business for months – virtually turning it around to make the commissioner and baseball the villain, the guilty one.

And he is still steadfastly denying doing anything wrong. On top of that, it also should be emphasized, he also still has not been convicted of anything.

“How dare they do this to me?” was what could have been inferred from his behavior and comments and continued denials of wrongdoing.

The agreement announced by the commissioner said that Rose “neither denies nor admits that he bet on any Major League Baseball game” – although the commissioner is convinced he did. Rose, the statement noted, “acknowledges that the commissioner has a factual basis to impose the penalty provided.”

What does that mean?

As for what might or might not occur a year from now, we cannot help also to wonder what difference a year is going to make anyway. Just what can, must, or should Pete Rose do, or what can, must, or should, or might happen inside of 12 months that would render him eligible for reinstatement? He has not even been ordered to seek therapy to cure what has been assumed is a gambling sickness – the commissioner leaving that “in Mr. Rose’s hands.”

The whole thing is ludicrous: Who in the world of baseball, in the first place, would want to hire Pete Rose in any managerial capacity within 12 months or 12 years? Especially if Commissioner Giamatti is still in office?

The entire episode reminds us of Alice’s observation in Wonderland: Something to the effect that “things seem to be getting curiouser and curiouser.”

We also wonder about the message baseball is sending out to all the fans – young and old – who virtually idolized the gentleman from Cincinnati? Is it that you did a naughty thing, Petie, and you must be punished. But come on back after a while and, ...

In the final analysis, we must observe, the matter should be simple: Pete Rose either did or did not break the rules of baseball. If he didn’t, he should not accept any agreement with the commissioner. And, if he did, it should be bye-bye, ta-ta, good riddance, se ya, bug off, or whatever – but certainly not just a casual so long.

Say it ain’t [goin’ to be] so, Bart. – Aug. 25, 1989

Wither pride

and practicality

We all – particularly those who might have known Winnie Williams before she and her family moved from Sterling about 10 years ago – should share a certain pride in the fact that she was part of a historic event.

As was explained on the front page of Friday’s Daily Gazette, Williams was part of the team that planned, implemented and completed the 12-year dramatic, momentous, romantic flight of Voyager 2. That flight ended this past weekend with a much-heralded and publicized visit to the planet Neptune.

Thus far, we have found out about rings and that it has three types of active volcanoes. Hmm.

All of that duly noted, and without intending to belittle tie achievement of those at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in the interest of fairness and balance, we do have a few questions from a lay perspective – questions that also might occur to other lay observers – perhaps even to you.

To wit:

n So what?

n Was this trip necessary?

n Volcanoes or not, was it worth the $865 million price tag?

n Could that money have been better spent?

n Was the adventure anything much more than an ego trip for the scientists and astronomers involved?

n Was it just a matter of gaining knowledge for knowledge’s sake – as commendable an objective as that sometimes can be?

n What possible practical applications can help us on Earth, even as we struggle to make ends meet and satisfy the needs of our people?

n Now what?

Can you think of any others? – Aug. 28, 1989

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