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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Facing the Music in Nashville

This column is being written at the last possible moment.  We were hoping to deliver some commentary about the Sox wheelings and dealings at the winter meetings in Nashville this weekend, but as of early Sunday evening, nothing has happened--and of course nothing did. 

Prof. Chaos has announced that if the Montreal Expos, who have managed to hold the other twenty-nine clubs hostage by their courting of just about everyone at the meetings who can breathe and who has a few bucks to spend, come near to making a trade, he expects them to come to him to make his own offer. 

By the time this column sees the light of day, all of this will probably be obsolete, but giving the professor the final word could be terrible.  Prof. Chaos has often expressed his philosophy of making a deal:  “Sometimes you have to overpay in order to get what you want.”  For this reason alone, Sox fans have to hope that the Sox can’t match any deal made to the Expos.


In non-Sox-related news, the ghost of Pete Rose has reared its ugly head with reports that Rose and Commissioner Budlight are negotiating terms for Rose’s reinstatement in baseball, which would make him eligible for the Hall of Fame. 

Rose has spent a great deal of time over the years pleading his case to a gullible public.  The gist of his argument seems to be, “How can they ban me?  They have no evidence that I did anything wrong.”  He has gone on the afternoon show on The Score in Chicago several times and said to Mike North, “If they have the evidence against me, why don’t they present it.” 

Of course North, aka Petie’s Lapdog, pants a few times whenever Rose says this and in his best Irv Kupcinet impersonation says, “Dat’s right, Pete.” 

Well, there is a very good reason baseball hasn’t presented the evidence against Rose.  They can’t.  And the reason they can’t is very simple.  Rose’s lawyers negotiated that very point into the agreement that he signed with the Commissioner’s Office.  That’s the tiny little fact Mr. North has never brought up in his “hard-hitting” interviews with Rose. 

Pete Rose is an interesting guy.  It’s obvious that he loves to be in the spotlight.  The day after he was banned from baseball, an unrepentant Rose was hawking his memorabilia on the Home Shopping Network.  Rose dishonors the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies every year by going to a local Cooperstown shrine to himself and signing autographs.  He gets on talk shows such as North’s and other radio and television shows stating that he really doesn’t care if he ever gets into the Hall of Fame. 

Yet, as is his right, he is appealing his status of being permanently ineligible.  After watching Rose for the past decade or so, the only conclusion one can reach is that he is doing so because he really does want his plaque in the Hall of Fame…desperately. 

Well, Pete, as far as I’m concerned, you can go into the Hall of Fame.  And the requirements here are not nearly as stringent as Bill James would have for Joe Jackson, that everyone who ever played the game as a professional or as an amateur be inducted first.  No, my qualifications are very simple.  Tell us what you did, Pete.  Tell us whether or not you bet on baseball games.  Tell us whether or not you bet on them from the Cincinnati clubhouse and from the dugout. 

Don’t go hiding behind your bargain with MLB.  Don’t hide behind the “neither admits nor denies” clause of that contract.  Either admit it or deny it.  But tell us the truth Pete.  And if you did bet on ballgames, Pete, act like you’re sorry.  Repudiate those standing ovations you got at the events that you were allowed to attend because MLB just couldn’t pass up the money from that credit card company.  If you bet on ballgames, admit you played the public for fools.  

And if you bet on ballgames, after admitting that and admitting that you played the fans for fools for all those years, then you slink into the Hall of Fame like the snake that you would be.

Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at

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