Pete Rose Great at Baseball, Lousy at Cheating

The Ballad of Pete Rose has been sung so often and in such a shrill manner that I expect Carly Smithson to tackle it this week on American Idol. Yes, he played in an appealing manner. Yes, he collected more hits than any other (though isn’t he lucky Ichiro Suzuki started in America so late?).

Pete Rose in Vegas

Also, he broke the cardinal sin (no, not that one) by betting on baseball (including his own team) when that very action nearly tore down the sport 65 years earlier. As it turns out, though, all of his alleged insider knowledge may not have helped him a trifle. An academic paper recently released claims Pete Rose lost nearly $50,000 on baseball.

Of course, it’s not the success rate that matters. Beyond the completely valid reason that an appearance of impropriety creates fissures in the baseball body politic, Rose’s actions may have been influenced by his delusional beliefs. Tom Browning doesn’t have it today in warmups? Bet against him and maybe leave him out an inning too long.

However, it adds to the growing feeling that Pete Rose has never succeeded at any human task outside his long-past ability to slap hits into right field and slide into second head first. Of course, that’s all Cincinnati ever asked him to do. Well, that and not gamble on baseball.