By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave and pitchers and catchers report to spring training two days after Super Bowl LVII (And what in the name of Pete Rozelle is LVII?).
—Pete Rose made another request for forgiveness in a letter recently to baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.
It smacks of groveling at the feet of the emperor, but what else can the man do? Most likely, at 81 years old, Rose is thinking about his mortality and this might be a last-ditch effort toward re-instatement, a path he needs to take to even become eligible for the baseball Hall of Fame.
When his gambling on baseball surfaced and Rose was sent to baseball’s Elba in 1989, I was all for the banishment for his sins against the game he loves so much.
And he lied for 14 years with emphatic denials that he bet on baseball, so I stayed staunchly against him. When he finally admitted it, it was with a $1 million book deal, ‘My Prison Without Bars.’
In the book, he wrote that I told baseball writer Jack Lang and broadcaster Tony Kubek that he bet $50,000 on a World Series game. That never happened and further turned me against his re-instatement.
After reading the book and the letter, I know, for sure, Pete didn’t write either one. Of street smarts, Rose is Einstein. Of book smarts, he wrote one before he ever read one. Somebody wrote them for him, but that’s neither here nor there. They are his thoughts.
But now. . .well it has been 33 years and the man, as they say, has served his time. Has he reconfigured his life, as baseball requested? Well, no. He still gambles, but legally. And Cincinnati’s Hard Rock casino has invited him to make the first bet when sports betting becomes legal in Ohio on January 1.
Baseball itself is into gambling with its association with DraftKings since 2015 and the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven. And baseball permitted the Texas mattress guy who bet $10 million on the Astros, to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before a World Series game.
We all know that Rose can’t get out of his own way and creates controversy nearly every time he opens his mouth and his lifestyle loses him points.
Nevertheless, he is The Hit King, he does own 4,256 hits, a number no player will ever reach. Yes, it is time for re-instatement to see if one of the Veterans Committees will vote him into the Hall of Fame…where, by the way, fans can already see many of his memorabilia items in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame museum. All that’s missing is a plaque.
—QUOTE: From author/clergyman Phillips Brooks: “Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours.” (Nobody will forget what Rose did, but aren’t we a forgiving society and, yes, we all have our faults.)
—SAY WHAT?: Quotes attributed to Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall by MLB.com won’t make fans rush to buy tickets.
On the eve of the general managers meetings in Las Vegas, Krall said, “We’re pretty much where we are.” Huh? What’s that mean? “We’re trying to figure out how we can make this team the best we can. . .we’re trying to figure out what our options are.”
When you figure it out, hopefully before Opening Day, let us know, Mr. Krall.
—DOMBROWSKI NOT DUMB: When Philadelphia’s director of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski took the Phillies to the World Series, he became the first baseball executive to take four different franchises to a World Series — the Marlins, Tigers, Red Sox and Phillies. No other executive has taken more than two.
What would it take to get this guy to Cincinnati before he lands in Cooperstown?
—SMILEY FACE: As Wright State University athletic director Bob Grant boarded the team bus after WSU’s upset win at Louisville, he noticed something unusual.
“Coach Scott Nagy smiles about three times a year,” said Grant. “But as I boarded the bus he gave me a brief grin.” (Louisville is not very good this year, but a win on the road against a high-profile basketball school is definitely something to smile about.)
—ANKLES AWAY: Just when it looked as if Baker Mayfield was to become a football non-entity, he is rising from the ashes.
It’s all about ankles. Mayfield started Carolina’s first five games then suffered a high ankle sprain. His replacement, P.J. Walker, has started the last four games, but he, too, suffered a high ankle sprain. Quarterback Sam Darnold hasn’t taken a snap this year because of — yeah, right — a high ankle sprain.
That leaves Mayfield the last man standing and he will start Sunday against Baltimore. . .with his ankles wrapped and double wrapped.
—CASH OFFER: From Brad Schmaltz, my California correspondent, and if you’ve seen the attorney ads for folks who ingested tainted water at Camp Lejuene, you can identify with this:
“Have you or your family been exposed to Browns football in the years from 1999 to 2022? If so, you may be eligible for a large cash settlement.” (As a diehard, and die often, Browns fan, I’d be a millionaire.)
—QUIET, PLEASE: From author/good friend Scott Russell: “A wise man once said. . .nothing.” (I’ve done this many times with my wife. . .to my vast benefit.)