In the wake of Alex Rodriguez’ handwritten apology to fans, the Yankees, major league baseball and all the ships at sea, commentators and columnists have posed the question:
Do you believe him? – or –
Should you believe him?
Personally, I do not think that either question here – or any other variants on this theme – rise to the level of interesting let alone important. A-Rod is going to show up in Spring Training; the Yankees wish that he will not pass his physical exam so that they can pay him off using insurance policy money instead of Yankee revenue; if he does “fail his physical”, you can be sure there will be legal challenges to that finding. The bottom line here is that my credence in his apology is irrelevant; A-Rod is almost assuredly going to play baseball this year despite what I or anyone else thinks about his apology. Therefore, I have not wasted any energy firing synapses in response to those sorts of questions.
The relevant baseball question regarding A-Rod is more along the lines of:
Given his age, his rehab from significant surgery and his presumed drug-cleanliness, can A-Rod still play baseball at the major league level?
That question will be answered partially during Spring Training and then far more thoroughly in the months of April, May and June…
Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald had this comment regarding another sizeable MLB contract:
“The Detroit Tigers signed Victor Martinez to a $68 million contract. He’s planning to take half that money and buy Detroit.”
New MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred said he would be willing to consider a new approach for MLB toward legalized gambling on sports to include baseball games. In an interview shown on ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Manfred said:
“It’s important for baseball to give fresh consideration to the issue.”
Somewhere in the cosmos, Kennesaw Mountain Landis felt a twinge in his neck and had no idea why. Look, the only reason there is a job called Commissioner of Major League Baseball is the response of the baseball owners to the gambling scandal of a fixed World Series in 1919. Even after Landis supposedly “cracked down” on all such shenanigans, there is more than a smidgen of evidence to say that Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker may have colluded to fix a game or two years after Landis was in office to assure that it would never happen again. And of course, there is also Pete Rose and all of the “stuff” that surrounds his case…
MLB has joined with the NBA and the NFL in opposition to legalized sports gambling in New Jersey. However, Manfred’s statements here could indicate that he – like Adam Silver in the NBA – recognize that gambling on sporting events in the US is inevitable and legalization could have revenue implications for state and local governments not to mention the pro sports leagues themselves. Clearly, any new policy or any support for changes in the laws regarding sports betting would have to assure that baseball players could not wager on baseball games – just as football players could not wager on football games – keeping the “integrity of the game” on a solid footing.
Adam Silver says the NBA continues to oppose the New Jersey initiative to legalize sports betting because he favors Federal legislation on the matter. His point that if states individually make changes to set up sports wagering, there will be a hodgepodge of regulations; Silver says he favors a change at the Federal level providing a single set of rules. MLB has also opposed the proposed changes in New Jersey. Manfred’s statements here could indicate that he might join with Silver to seek some movement on this issue at the Federal level.
Good luck dealing with the US Congress. Getting those folks to agree that the sun came up in the east this morning might be a difficult task; getting those folks to agree that they – and/or their predecessors – were a bunch of asshats when they passed PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) back in the early 1990s will be a whole lot harder.
In that interview on Outside the Lines, Manfred also said that Pete Rose’s lawyers have contacted him regarding the possibility that Manfred might consider lifting the lifetime ban on Rose. My position on that action should be clear to any long-term readers here:
If there is any evidence that Rose bet against a team that he played for or managed, he should never be reinstated under any circumstances.
Absent that information, he should be reinstated BECAUSE MLB is the entity that keeps Pete Rose off Hall of Fame ballots with their rule that only eligible players may appear on the ballot.
Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame because of what he did on the field as a player. If you doubt that, let me give you 4,256 reasons why he belongs there.
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Rock of the Deseret News regarding player mix-ups:
“Eastern Conference [NBA] All-Star Paul Millsap told reporters his name is often confused with country singer Ronnie Milsap.
“Part of the problem, he said, is that he played in Utah with Ronnie Brewer.
“On a positive note, it’s unlikely anyone will mix up 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert with 5-foot-6 Rudy Ruettiger.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………