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LIAR, LIAR, CAREER BURNS UP IN FIRE

By Murray Chass

August 24, 2014

In the 25 years he has been banished from baseball, Pete Rose has probably uttered the phrase “second chance” as many times as he had hits (4,256) in his record career.

“If they gave him another chance, I would bet he would do the right thing,” Tommy Gioiosa said. “With Pete, I think he gambled out of boredom. He wanted to have fun. It was a big price to pay.”

Paul Janszen offered another view of Rose, who was thrown out of baseball for life 25 years ago today. Janszen and Gioiosa were two of the names most prominently linked to the 1989 John Dowd investigation that resulted in Rose’s banishment by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

Mimicking Rose’s oft-stated position, Janszen said, “’Hey, man, I deserve a second chance.’ He’s gone to a couple churches in Philadelphia and Louisville, and he makes a few bucks saying everybody deserves a second chance. His second chance came when baseball said sign the agreement and apply for reinstatement.

“That second chance came every year. It’s like letting the fox back in the hen house. If you want to, say ‘I’ve been a dumb s.o.b. This is what I’ve done. I failed so many people.’ I can’t understand the mindset of a guy who has everything.

“My opinion is people have to earn second chances. You can’t earn them by waiting out time. If you talk from your heart and say ‘I’ve been an idiot; I won’t go near a race track,’ I think that would resonate with the commissioner, whoever he is. But he still loves it. I feel sorry for him.

“He’s still got time. He’s still breathing. I feel sorry for Pete.”

I appreciated Janszen’s candor, as I did Gioiosa’s. I appreciated their willingness to talk about Rose, with whom they have had little or no contact in years. But I have no sympathy for the 73-year-old Rose. His arrogance, his cockiness and his belief that he was too good to be punished – after all, he was Pete Rose – prompted him to lie for 15 years, from the day he was sentenced in 1989 to the day his book was published in 2004.

Despite my disdain for Rose, I thought he had a chance to be reinstated if he had …

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RETURN OF THE GHOST OF BOWIE KUHN

By Murray Chass

August 20, 2014

Over the six years this web site has existed, its more than 600 columns have triggered e-mail responses that have ranged from complete and total thoughtful agreement to vile, nasty, repugnant, fan-fueled comments.

It’s always gratifying to have readers agree with the thoughts and ideas presented in a column, but it could become boring to have all readers agree all of the time. In other words, I don’t mind a contrary opinion expressed by a reader.

But what I really appreciate is readers whose responses suggest ideas for additional columns. I received one of those this week, though I don’t know that the writer/reader meant to suggest this column.

This was a response to the column about the election of Rob Manfred as the next commissioner and the determined but failed effort of Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the Chicago White Sox, to block Manfred.

This was the e-mail:

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LISTEN TO REINSDORF SING HIS SWAN SONG

By Murray Chass

August 15, 2014

How is Jerry Reinsdorf a loser? Let me count the ways.

On second thought, I have neither the time nor the space to do a complete count. I’ll just hit a few highlights:

In his career-long obsession with deflating players’ salaries, the chairman of the Chicago White Sox and Bulls was a central figure in the baseball owners’ illegal collusive activities against free agents in the mid-1980s. “Collusion was a $280 million mistake,” former commissioner Fay Vincent said in a television interview this week. “And Jerry was right in the middle of that. That mistake is the sort of thing that baseball cannot really tolerate ever again.”

In his ugly, mean-spirited way, Reinsdorf joined fellow owner and confidant Bud Selig in 1992 in orchestrating Vincent’s ouster from the office of commissioner. Reinsdorf and Selig wanted Vincent out because they were plotting to go to war with the players union in the 1994 labor negotiations and didn’t want Vincent getting in their way. The results of the 234-day strike they forced were disastrous.

In the 33rd year of their relationship, the 78-year-old Reinsdorf suddenly found 80-year-old Selig too secretive and …

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