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Joe Morgan on Steroids, Rose


Morgan, 61, also dared baseball to continue justifying Pete Rose's exclusion from the Hall of Fame for betting on baseball if known steroid users are inducted.

"All those years, I was the guy who said Pete needs to be punished, and he has, for 16 years," Morgan said of his former Cincinnati Reds and Phillies teammate. "But how long are these guys going to be kept out?

"If you are going to let people into the Hall who have done steroids, then you have to let Pete Rose in, because this (steroids scandal) has hurt baseball more than what Pete did."

It's really hard to quantify how much steroids have affected baseball.  How many extra home runs have been hit due to steroids? How many players avoided time on the DL because of faster recovery? How many players spent more time on the DL because of steroid use?  How many singles became doubles? How many pitchers added 3-5 MPH to their fastball?

No one knows.

But we do know that gambling undermines the legitimacy of the entire game.  The one - and only - thing that absolutely can't be questioned when it comes to the relationship between sporting events and it's fans is the effort that players and coaches are making to win.

If fans start to question that effort then the sport is done.  And that's what gambling does, it makes fans question the legitimacy of what they're witnessing.

Sammy Sosa would have still been hitting home runs in the late 90s.  Would he have hit less without steroids?  It's impossible to tell.  Jason Giambi seems to be doing well without them, to the tune of a 1.021 OPS.  People knew that players were doping in the 90's (remember the McGwire - Creatine flap?), and yet attendance and interest in the game skyrocketed.

I can guarantee you that wouldn't happen if a widespread gambling scandal occurred.  It would kill the game for years, just as it did in 1919.

Pete Rose got what he deserved.  Should baseball relent at some point and let him in the Hall?  Sure, if only to shut him up and make him go away.

Not to mention we'd have less to listen to from guys like Joe Morgan and Marty Brennaman who feel the need to stump for Rose at every opportunity.

[Edited to reflect that Johnny Bench doesn't actually want Pete Rose in the HOF. Sorry about that.]