Why can’t Billy Hamilton hit a triple?

hamilton_runs_5mrp1abo_pxiqulxk

On May 2 of last year, Reds centerfielder Billy Hamilton strolled to the plate for the second time that day. Facing Johnny Cueto, Hamilton laced a sharp liner to left center—a batted ball, in most common circumstance, results in a routine single. Denard Span, the center fielder, understood immediately it would not be a routine single. He hurried a few steps to his right, scooped the ball from the ground, twirled, and fired a quick throw to the second baseman. Of course, it was too late. Billy Hamilton was sliding into second with a leadoff double.

The Reds’ announcers were impressed. “He can turn a single into a double and a double into a triple better than anyone in the game,” one remarked.

The first part is almost certainly true. (I will show you, later, with videos, and statistics.) But the second part is where things get tricky.

Last year, Billy Hamilton hit three triples. Other players who hit three triples in 2016: John Jaso, Freddy Galvis, Carlos Santana. 60 players hit more triples than Billy Hamilton last year. In 2012, Billy Hamilton stole 155 bases in a single minor league season. What gives? Why isn’t Billy Hamilton hitting any triples?

Obviously, Hamilton’s lack of power is well-trod territory. In August, August Fagerstrom wrote on the delightful results of his weakest contact. He noted in his piece that Hamilton sat at the lowest exit velocity of any single qualified batter in the league. (Hamilton finished the year just above other noted slap hitters Dee Gordon and Billy Burns.)

But just three triples? Hamilton’s contemporaries, Burns and Gordon, had 4 and 6, respectively, in a smaller amount of plate appearances. But after watching all of Hamilton’s 25 extra-base hits from last year, it’s clear looking at exit velocity leaderboards doesn’t totally get the job done. I have done the hard work here, and I return with this astounding explanation: Billy Hamilton didn’t hit a ball in the gap for the entire season!

For the purposes of this exercise, “hitting a ball in the gap” will be defined as a batted ball that splits two outfielders and reaches the wall. A ground balls or line drive in the alley is not a gapper.

Now, as promised, is some video. Behold, the closest Hamilton came to hitting a ball in the gap in 2016:

So, this one comes down to a technicality. Is a lofted fly ball, misjudged by both outfielders, but still landing between them (though not rolling all the way to the wall) a gapper? Some may say yes. Some may say no. (I say no.) You can choose to get hung up here, or you can choose to accept the statistical improbability that this is the only ball that could even be debatably determined as a batted ball in the gap by Hamilton in 2016.

His other closest instances of a ball in the gap:

On August 14th, Keon Broxton drops a line drive hit to his left. The scorer gives Hamilton a double.

Back on May 5th, Hamilton lofts a fly ball to center. Kirk Nieuwenhuis tracks back and lets the ball hit his glove as it falls to the grass.

That’s it. Every other Hamilton extra base hit last year was either a routine single stretched into a double, a grounder down the line, or a line drive into the alley. Some illustrative examples:

Grichuk got to the ball in time, but his arm just didn’t have enough juice to peg Hamilton.

This is Hamilton’s first double of the year, on April 9. We can chalk this one up to an early season blunder.

This is from June 1. Not sure how you’re still sleeping on Billy Hamilton at this point. Don’t fall asleep on Billy Hamilton!

So, to circle back to the original premise, this is how Hamilton—despite his prodigious speed—ends up with an pedestrian quantity of triples. Of his 19 doubles, I counted ten that I interpreted as regular old singles stretched into doubles by sheer willpower.

The underlying exit velocity and launch angle numbers back this up, too. Hamilton tied for the league lead last year in doubles with a launch angle of less than 0 degrees (essentially, ground ball doubles.) This likely undersells (oversells?) Hamilton, as Statcast strangely didn’t pick up four of his doubles. (Three of the missing doubles were grounders.)

Why does this matter? Well, it’s fun. Watching Billy Hamilton run is very fun. And extremes are fun. But what’s interesting here for Hamilton, specifically, and also for baseball players, generally, is the idea of attempting to calculate baserunning value from batted ball outcomes. Fangraphs’ baserunning statistic, BsR, is largely composed of UBR, which uses linear weights in various base-out states to calculate the expected baserunning value. This is strong and good methodology, but it leaves out a large component of baserunning skill (stretching extra bases), which is exactly what Hamilton is demonstrating in those clips.

Based on my own rudimentary analysis, it looks like Hamilton turned ten should-be singles into doubles. In a perfect world, we’d count those extra bases in his BsR, and subtract them from his ISO. (Poor Billy Hamilton’s ISO).

But as we gain more access to information, we can perhaps start to develop a way to include this in the BsR methodology. Already, we know that Hamilton’s grounder to center against the Rockies—hit at 95 MPH, with a -5 degree launch angle—results in a double just 3% of the time. With this information, why couldn’t a similar expected runs value be implemented to batted balls, with the goal of separating hitting performance from baserunning performance?

In this theoretical world, Hamilton’s adjusted slugging percentage drops to .289, and his adjusted ISO drops to .029. This would put him at second-worst in the modern era. Just another way for Billy Hamilton to look like one of the weirder players in baseball.

Haiku Fridays: Gunnin’ for the Playoffs

banners

A week ago yesterday, the Seahawks unveiled a banner to commemorate the team’s victory in Super Bowl XLVII. It feels like it’s been XLVII years since the Mariners were able to hang a new banner of their own, but, as you can see in the picture, it’s actually “only” been thirteen. The drought could be over soon, though! There’s less than a month of baseball left to play, and as of this writing, the M’s hold on to that second Wild Card spot. We can thank some Paxton dominance and Fernando record-making for that. We cannot do so for Yoervis Medina.

Paxton be nimble,
Paxton be quick; Paxton gives
the AL West fits

Last Mariner with
45 saves: Kaz. Respect
to that man’s Fang, mang.

No love for Yoervis, though.
He ruined Roenis’s
day. He ruined mine.

Email Exchange: College Football Is BACK

coach

Today’s article: “Just Give Todd Gurley the Damn Ball: Your Weekly College Football Wrap,” Matt Hinton, Grantland

Michael Rosen:

Hey, welcome back! It’s been a little touch-and-go with school starting for me, but we’re going to try and establish a routine going forward, so you all can stop sending me emails asking when we’re coming back. Anyways, we’re just going to jump right into it, with some college football talk.

Cam, football! Just the sight of it on my television screen — even an unwatchable Arizona-UNLV faceoff — brings joy to my heart. On Saturday I woke up with butterflies in my stomach I was so excited for the day.

Cameron Seib:

Senior year of high school, as I was deciding which schools to apply to, I looked for two things. One, a good academic reputation, and two, big-time sports programs. When my aunts or uncles or old family friends would ask where I wanted to go, I told them exactly that: anywhere I could feel good about the education I was getting, and that prioritized tailgating on Saturdays.

Once they realized I wasn’t actually hoping to play DI football, they’d kinda laugh at my search criteria. Like, ha, stupid Cameron, making a big life decision based on silly old sports.

Four years later, I’m going to say that was the one time in my life I showed any wisdom. College football is the best, and I really can’t imagine what my undergraduate experience would’ve been like without Pac-12 games to attend each fall weekend. Oh wait, I can: it would’ve been miserable. Thanks to all those worried elders that tried steering me in another direction, but I’ll save Saturday poetry reading sessions for my geriatric years.

But yeah, let’s talk Pac-12, Mike. My Dawgs barely squeaked out a victory in an absolutely atrocious beginning to the Chris Petersen era. Meanwhile, and as painful as this is to admit, your Bears might’ve had the best showing of any team in the conference. How was the trip to Northwestern and the subsequent upset?

MR:

I’ve also gone to a Pac-12 school for four years, and although I haven’t personally been able to participate in the tailgate scene outside of California Memorial Stadium, it’s safe to say it’s not a particularly rollicking one. I have the pleasure of walking through frat row on the way to every Cal home game, and I’ll let you know it’s pretty casual — some terrible music playing, but not too loudly, and usually a beer pong game or two on any given frat lawn.

So I’d say it’s not necessarily that you chose a big conference school, but you chose one, thankfully, with a great football/tailgating culture. Cal is, uh, not that. At the game, I sat next to a Northwestern student in the press box, and at one point we started to debate over which fan base is worse. For my money, Stanford takes home the gold medal in that department, but in terms of big school fanbases, Cal’s gotta be among the lamest.

I wrote something like 1400 words Saturday on the game so I’m all talked out of Cal football, but I’d be glad to talk about everything surrounding the experience. The upset was welcome, because it definitely lifted the mood and spirit of everyone working for the team, which made the horrible and miserable traveling experience a little less terrible. Being in Chicago was really cool, although the humidity was fucking impossible, but the experience of watching football in person is always a special one. The eighteen total hours on buses and planes on Thursday and Saturday wasn’t the most fun, though.

In terms of Pac-12 football, I didn’t really expect my perception of most teams to change much. Usually, teams are facing cupcakes, and take care of business pretty convincingly. I pegged your squad as a dark horse North contender, but a one-point win over Hawaii…that’s ugly. I think I texted you last week saying I expected it to be over by halftime. If I remember correctly, Hawaii was actually ahead at half. I didn’t get a chance to watch the game — was the poor showing just a product of Jeff Lindquist, or were there other foreboding signs? I’ve seen people on Cal Twitter saying they see the Dawgs game as a winnable one now — you think that’s a classic Week 1 overreaction, or a realistic assessment of the state of the conference?

Anyway, in other Pac-12 matters, I said that I didn’t expect my perception of teams to change much, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Maybe it’s just my myopia but the Pac-12 seems to be the wackiest conference in the country, with UCLA struggling against UVA, Oregon State doing so against Norfolk State, and Colorado losing to Colorado State. These are all results that point to another season full of upsets. I can’t wait.

CS:

Yeah, maybe “Power 5 Conference” and “fun sports scene” aren’t always synonymous. I visited you in Berkeley last September, with a few of our other friends, and we happened to be there for the Cal-Ohio St. game. You had to cover the game, so the four of us indeed traveled to frat row, thinking that’s where the action would be. It wasn’t. One house was playing “I Love It” on repeat — and I mean repeat — but, yeah, not so loud that they couldn’t hear us making fun of them. At another place, some of the guys had invited their dads over to tailgate, in what I can only assume was a desperate attempt to feign a happening pregame.

So I guess I can’t be too unhappy with your guys’ win. I wouldn’t wish a lacking college football culture on the worst of my enemies (save 75% of our graduating class at Capital), and shitty fans and shitty team and all — that was your first win against an FBS opponent since October 2012 — even Cal deserves a big upset every now and then.

On to Dawg talk. You actually are remembering incorrectly, as UW went scoreless after halftime, but I don’t blame you for assuming Hawaii led after the first two quarters. The Warriors outgained the Huskies on offense by nearly 100 yards during the game, and considering the expectations leading into the contest, it really felt as if the Dawgs were behind all along. I was at the Mariners game for most of the action and only caught the 4th quarter on TV, but it certainly looked like the flop had a lot to do with Lindquist. At least, I really, really hope it did. He started off pretty well, going 7-10 for 131 yards and a TD in the first half, and his team entered the locker room with a not-pathetic 17-10 lead. But after that, man. He just couldn’t complete anything. I don’t know if it was the nerves from making his first collegiate start, or the UW offensive line not performing up to expectations, but Lindquist couldn’t complete anything down the stretch. Every pass was either tipped at the line or five yards out of the receiver’s reach.

Of course, no, Cal still has no chance come our October 11 meeting. The Huskies’ defense remains a huge strength, featuring the best defensive lineman (Danny Shelton), linebacker (Shaq Thompson), and defensive back (Marcus Peters) in the conference. Our o-line returns essentially six starters from the 2013 season. And if Kasen Williams recovers to full strength, him and speedster John Ross could form the most dangerous wideout duo in the Pac-12. I’m a homer and a half, but I really think the Dawgs have the talent to compete with anyone on their schedule. We just need Cyler Miles back. Badly. And for him to stop punching people.

UW’s shitting of the bed really couldn’t compare to the diarrhetic mess that was UCLA’s game vs. UVA, though. That Bruin o-line is miserable. I know it’s classic fanboy of me to say my school’s loss didn’t mean anything, while UCLA’s meant everything, but at least we had the excuse of starting our backup QB. The Bruins, on the other hand, kinda just realized that their o-line is more a huge glaring hole than a minor weakness on an otherwise strong squad.

What games did you watch outside the Pac?

MR:

To be fair, “I Love It” is a fucking great song. Outside of a few glances at those trashy Thursday and Friday night games, I didn’t actually get to watch any games in full. Our buses left the hotels right when the 9:00 PST games were starting, so I pretty much got to watch some College Gameday and the last few plays of that Penn State-UCF game in Ireland. Luckily there were some TVs on the plane back so I did get to see portions of the Wisconsin-LSU game, but I was so tired at that point I couldn’t tell football from Fox News. To be honest, non Pac-12 college football just doesn’t do it as much for me anymore. I know so much more about the Pac-12 than any other conference, so watching other conferences just isn’t as riveting.

Haiku Fridays: Jesus Montero Lives in Ice-Creamic Infamy

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians

This week saw the Mariners do awesome things, like sweep the Red Sox at Fenway for the first time in franchise history. This week saw the M’s do terrible things, like let Erasmo Ramirez pitch. This week saw M’s employees do very, very strange things. Let’s recap, in syllabically patterned form!

 

Who’s thirty-seven-

years-old and just swept Boston?

Many janitors.

 

Erasmo pitching

during a postseason run

might be illegal.

 

A Mariners scout

would jeopardize his career

for a Klondike Bar.

State of the Blog Address, Vol. I

FFelix

With it being broadcasted on every major news station and all, you’d think the annual State of the Union Address might hold something of viewing interest. But it doesn’t, not even occasionally, no matter who’s giving it. The speech begins with the Sergeant at Arms acting like he actually has a purpose, followed by the President rattling off the list of repressive policies he’s enacted since he last took the podium (and ones he promises are soon to come!), all the while his side of Congress does its best cymbal-banging monkey impression. If you’re lucky, a no-name South Carolinian will do something perfectly fitting of that demographic. Otherwise, it’s a fairly useless and very boring hour of programming.

The only thing less useful and more dull I can imagine, in fact, is someone taking the idea and applying it to their blog. Hey, look at all the (not really) awesome posts we wrote! Listen to the even cooler stuff we (definitely don’t) have in store! BE HAPPY ABOUT ALL THE PROGRESS WE’VE MADE IN OUR NARCISSISTIC ENDEAVOR.

But yeah, you guessed it, a State of the Blog Address is exactly what I’m here to give. To all 17 members of the esteemed Why Oh Why? community, I’m hoping you take this as evidence that Mike and I don’t see this blog as merely a space for the occasional rant, but a thing we’re doing our best to make something. That despite our sporadic posting, we take this blog seriously, and hope you can too.

I’m honestly quite surprised we got this shit moving at all. When Mike proposed the daily Email Exchange, he told me we’d have to start at 8:00 a.m. to accommodate his summer class schedule. Sure, sounds great, I thought. Until I remembered 1) that I was starting my summer break, and 2) that I never wake up that early, even during the school year. When my alarm rang at 7:30 the morning of our first exchange, I considered asking Mike if he wouldn’t rather hold off on the idea until sometime later.

Somehow, though, I made myself into a morning person. The two of us started pounding out Email Exchange after Email Exchange, all of them silly, but each progressively less. And on a self-entitled Mariners blog, if you can believe it, Mike and I also found time to write about the team. We even started a couple of semi-regular series, with our Player Primer and Haiku Friday joints, which, rather amazingly, live on. Oh, and Mike once did something about a really shitty band. Idk.

All in all, we’ve posted 36 different pieces, with this now our 37th. Regardless of any questions of quality, I’ve just been happy with our quantity of content — that there is content at all.

Any faithful readers we might have, though, probably aren’t quite so content. We’ve been a bit overly ambitious in our goals, and had we fulfilled any number of promises previously made, there would be a whole lot more than 36 posts. When I took a weekend birthday vacation, the “daily” Email Exchange became something we would at least usually do every day. After that, when Mike’s schedule shifted a bit and I left for Amsterdam, it became something we hoped to do a least a couple times a week. But then we went to Outside Lands and saw even that small commitment was too much.

Recently, the “daily” Email Exchange has been more of a “when convenient” series, and even that’s rather admirable when looking at the sporadicalness of our M’s material. It’s probably pointless for me to apologize to an invisible audience that may not even exist, but, yeah, sorry. Please know, though, that at no point was our failure to deliver a sign of resignation, but rather having gotten ahead of ourselves in the promises made.

And, dear reader(s), brace yourself, because our messy production schedule is likely about to get even more disordered. Mike’s first day of school is today and mine’s just around the corner. We’ll soon both be taking classes, working jobs, and writing for our school newspapers. How often we’ll be able to post on here, and what about, I’m not sure. At this point, I’ve learned to avoid committing to anything to specific. That said, speaking for the both of us, you have our word on two things going forward:

1. Haiku Fridays every Friday

2. Our best effort in providing entertaining, insightful content on a regular basis

We’ll see how that set of promises go. To any Joe Wilsons out there that read either and thought “these guys are lying”: I hope you’re wrong, but really I’m just glad you care enough about Why Oh Why? to get that worked up.

 

Go M’s,

Cameron

Haiku Fridays: HOLY SHIT

holy

I envisioned the return of Haiku Fridays being a bit solemn, recounting this week’s series lost in Philly and tonight’s Felix-gem-turned-Cespedes-showcase. BUT NOPE. Because LoMo! And Endy and Denorfia and Austin Jackson! Dustin fucking Ackley! I only had a couple years under my belt at the time, but my dad tells me tonight was some shit straight outta ’95.

“M’s are gonna lose.” – Dad

Words said at 7:30,

that look stupid now.

 

Endy’s up. Two outs.

“Not looking good.” – Everyone

“Fuck you all.” – Endy

 

SODOMOJOTWO

OUTSSOWHATTRUETOTHEBLUE

PLAYOFFSHEREWECOME

Email Exchange: Pete Rose Had a Gambling Problem, and That’s Not a Problem

pete rose

Today’s article: “Pete Rose’s Reckless Gamble,” Ryan Rodenberg, The Atlantic

Cameron Seib:

At Garfield Elementary School, where Mike and I spent our fledgling years, we had this thing called the Life Skills Program. It enlisted us to strive after certain qualities, or “life skills,” that our teachers and administrators found important — basic things like honesty, sense of humor, and courage.

Near the end of each month, we’d have a school-wide Life Skills assembly, where certain students were nominated and recognized for exhibiting a Life Skill. In third grade, I was honored in front of the school for showing “common sense.” I don’t remember what I did to earn the praise, but I do remember afterwards asking Mrs. Edwards, my teacher, why common sense was a Life Skill in the first place. As eight-year-old me saw it, a kid who had common sense shouldn’t be lauded for the fact; it should’ve been an expected virtue, and those who lacked it should’ve been condemned. I now see why I won the common sense award.

That specific anecdote has nothing to do with today’s article, but the Life Skills Program, and another personal story about it, actually does!

On one of the first days of fourth grade, Mrs. Reynolds gave each student a small person-shaped cutout and asked us to decorate the figures in a way that somehow represented ourselves. She’d brought in loads of scrap cloths, but the only one I thought fit paper-me was a piece that’d ostensibly come from an old Cincinnati Reds blanket. So I did my best to cut a mini t-shirt from the material (definitely fucked it up), and glued it onto my figure. I finished outfitting the guy with some grey pants, so he’d look like a baseball player. To finalize my masterpiece, though, I had to tattoo the cutout with a Life Skill. Arrogant old me found a slip of paper that said “Integrity,” and I glued it across Small Cameron’s chest.

A peachy-skinned Reds player, my paper figure was visually reminiscent of Pete Rose. Morally, though, it was anything but. As Ryan Rodenberg’s piece in The Atlantic reminds us today, Rose did NOT show integrity on the field.

If you were born yesterday, you can’t read, but here’s a quick primer on the history of Rose’s scandal for when you can. After a record-breaking career as a player for Cincinnati, Rose became the Reds’ manager in the mid-80s. He proceeded to bet on his team to win certain games. The MLB, after learning of this, in turn proceeded to ban Rose for life, because gambling is a big no-no for league employees. Most notably as a result, Rose remains outside the halls of Cooperstown, despite holding the all-time record for hits and generally being considered one of the best players ever.

Whether Rose deserves a plaque in the Hall of Fame has been an ongoing debate for years now, with many proponents specifically using Rose’s transgressions as a defense in his favor. I, at least before this morning, was in that group. Why was Rose ever punished, much less to such a great extent, simply for believing in his team?

As Rodenberg, an assistant professor of sports law at Florida State University, explains, Rose’s gambling really wasn’t so harmless. Aside from betting of any form violating the expressly written bylaws of the MLB, the big thing for Rodenberg is that Rose didn’t bet on every Reds game he managed. And that, Rodenberg argues, could’ve compromised the integrity of each Cincinnati game during Rose’s managerial career. For one, Rose’s decision to not bet on the Reds in certain games may’ve signaled something to his bookies, who then might’ve been inclined to put money on the opposition. Of course, Rose wouldn’t want to piss off his bookies, because they could’ve outed him to the MLB at any time, so he might’ve been weary of managing his team to victory when he knew doing so would cost those guys big bucks.

Second, and really more importantly, it seems certain that Rose would’ve managed in a way that allowed for the Reds to be at full-strength for the games on which he’d wagered. Maybe he burned the bullpen arms when money was on the line, even knowing it could limit Cincy’s ability to win their next game. Or maybe he sat his best players in games he hadn’t bet on, letting them rest up for match-ups that had the potential to bring back money.

Taking anytime at all to consider the implications of a manager betting on his team’s games, it’s hard to say it’s not a pretty damning act. Certainly, and I don’t mean to be hyperbolic, if the MLB allowed coaches to gamble on games, even just on their teams winning, the sport would collapse. No longer, as John Dowd wrote in his investigation of Rose’s betting, would winners “be determined by the best efforts of each player on the field.”

All that sentimental purist shit aside, I still think Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. No question. I don’t care how immoral you convince me his behavior was. Cooperstown is not a place to enshrine good guys that also happened to be able to swing the bat. It’s where we honor the players who were the best on the field, nothing more. Ty Cobb was a proud racist, and as Al Stump claims in his biography on the Tiger, once beat a man to death. Tony La Russa hates immigrants, loves Glenn Beck, and was arrested for driving drunk. Both Cobb and La Russa were no-doubt selections into the Hall.

Maybe you come back and say, “Well, that’s just an argument that Cobb and La Russa shouldn’t be in, either.” Okay, theoretical dude, let’s take out all the guys who screwed up at some point in their life and erase tear down their plaques. Sound like a good idea? Of course it doesn’t, because when you follow that logic to the end, you realize the Hall really isn’t about only accepting real-life saints, or else it’d be near-empty.

Pete Rose fucked up. Big time. As did many of his peers, before and after. They are in Cooperstown. He is not. Change that, I say.

Mike, how bad do you think Rose’s gambling really was? And do you think he should be in the Hall of Fame?

Michael Rosen:

Seems you mostly covered it all, Cam. While we were discussing this topic in our Gchat right after you started writing, I wanted to check in where you fell on this issue to see if my response would be similar in any way. Turns out, your take is pretty much exactly in line with what I planned on writing.

I did once fall in line with the hypothetical student’s line of thought in Rodenberg’s piece. I, too, was guilty of thinking that betting on your team to win games doesn’t seem like a conflict of interest in any way. Obviously, you’re trying to win every game you manage — what’s the big deal here? But Rodenberg’s piece did get me thinking about the counterargument to that sentiment in a more nuanced way than before, and his points do make sense.

I disagree slightly with the counterfactuals proposed by Rodenberg — unless there’s concrete evidence of Rose committing the hypothetical acts he proposes Rose may have committed in the piece, then they remain hypotheticals. It might have been as simple as Rose betting on the days his ace pitched. But that’s an argument I’m not comfortable taking very far, so I’ll leave it alone. Like you said, Pete Rose definitely fucked up.

But I come down pretty strong on “the Hall of Fame is a museum to commemorate the best players” side of things. Again, like you said, Ty Cobb and countless others in the Hall today are gigantic pieces of shit douchebags. It is not the Hall of Morality, nor the Hall of Character Judgment. And that doesn’t even get into the idea that these are baseball writers making these “moral” calls — professional baseball writers, so obviously among the great moral arbiters of our universe, passing down their judgements on these baseball players. Fact of the matter is Pete Rose is one of the best 25 or 30 or 50 players of baseball of all-time, and therefore deserves a shrine in the museum that ostensibly honors, uh, baseball playing.

To be honest, and maybe I’ll come off sounding like a dipshit, but my gut instinct is to think Rose’s gambling didn’t really affect the outcomes of games all that much. I can see the slippery slope argument about allowing one type of gambling and then that leading to more serious types of gambling, etc. And I can see how it potentially could lead to grave consequences for the game in general. But in a vacuum, I don’t think what Rose did was all that bad. /ducks

CS:

They remain hypotheticals, but the conclusions drawn are sound. If you bet on one game but not another, it stands to reason that you’ll care more about winning the game that’ll bring in money. Because people, Americans especially, are selfish and ALWAYS put their own interests before others’. If Thomas Jefferson had to rewrite the Declaration of Independence to reflect the sentiment of today’s citizens, it’d read “We hold this truth to be self-evident: I got mine, and don’t give a fuck about you.” So, even if it would require an explicit confession to prove that Rose managed his team to be at full-strength for the games on which he’d wagered, we can still safely assume he actually did so, because, how could he have not? Even if he didn’t realize it, or denied the idea to himself, Rose was going to be inclined to go all-in when there was a potential reward awaiting. Because humans want to better themselves no matter the cost, Rose is a human, and Rose stood to better himself by tanking in certain games.

I guess that’s all a way of saying that even if you can’t prove what Rodenberg suggests, his arguments don’t lose weight for it. You can never prove a person at fault unless there’s recorded evidence of the act, or the person in question admits guilt, but when all the evidence points in one direction, we don’t let those constraints hold us back. That Rose compromised his team’s ability to win some games isn’t empirical fact, but it’s the sad truth.

Still, who cares? Baseball came down so hard on Rose that his example is not likely to ever be replicated. The lesson was learned, so put him in the Hall of Fame.