Pete Rose – Time To Let Him Into The Hall of Fame

Pete Rose

It has been far too long since baseball has punished Pete Rose.  It has come to a point where punishment no longer fits the crime.

Pete Rose is recognized as the all-time hit leader in the Major Leagues.  Yet despite his accomplishments as a player, he is being punished for stupid mistakes that he made mostly as a manager.  Everyone who knows baseball knows that Rose was never going into the Hall as a manger, not with his accomplishments as a player:

  • 24 year career
  • .303 lifetime career batting average
  • 4,256 hits – most in major league history
  • Three batting titles
  • Three World Series rings
  • One MVP award
  • 17 All-Star appearances for five different positions (2B, LF, RF, 3B & 1B)

Rose has admitted to betting while playing and managing the Reds.  He also states that he never bet against the Reds so there was no reason to throw games.  If anything, he had more incentive to win.

Outside of the integrity of the game, who did Pete Rose hurt outside of himself and his family?

Is his gambling more harmful than players using performance enhancing drugs?  You would think that would be more harmful to the integrity of the game.  Yet Alex Rodriguez was suspended for a year and is now back playing with the Yankees.

Many players have done more harm to the image of the game with drug and alcohol use as opposed to gambling.  Yet baseball allows those players back into the game but not those who have been caught placing bets.

Here are some interesting tidbits on players/managers/owners suspended for gambling and being reinstated as opposed to players/managers/owners being suspended for drug and alcohol use:

  • Since 1865, 41 people have been banned (not suspended) for some amount of time, either for gambling or drug related use.  This includes one umpire, Richard Higham in 1882 for conspiring to help throw a Detroit Wolverines game.
  • Of those 41, 27 were related to gambling.  13 of the 41 were reinstated and only three persons  banned or gambling related issues were allowed to come back.
  • To this day, 24 people associated to the game of baseball have been permanently banned for gambling related issues.
  • In contrast, only 2 players have  been banned:  Ferguson Jenkins in 1980 when drugs were found on his person on Toronto and Steve Howe in 1992 after receiving seven suspension related to drug use.

Both players were later reinstated.  Jenkins was reinstated by an independent arbitrator and elected into the Hall of Fame in 1991.  Steve Howe was also reinstated by an independent arbitrator in 1992 and he retired from the game in 1996 and passed away in 2006.

As a result, no player has been permanently banned from baseball due to drug related issues.

I am not attempting to minimize the effect of gambling has on the game of baseball or any major league sport.  But what bothers me is the disparity between the rulings regarding drug related issues and those related to gambling.  Baseball basically bends over backwards in their disciplinary actions when players are tested positive for drugs:

Failure to comply with drug or alcohol treatment program:

  • First failure – 15 to 25 day suspension and/or a fine up to $10,000
  • Second failure – 25 to 50 day suspension and/or fine up to $25,000
  • Third failure  –  50 to 75 day suspension and/or fine of up to $50,000
  • Fourth failure – Minimum of one year suspension and/or fine of up to $100,000 fine
  • Anything after the fifth failure, the level of discipline will be determined my the Commissioner of baseball

As for steroids or PED’s, a player gets 2 chances before receiving a lifetime ban.  First time tested, 80 game suspension, second time, 162 game suspension.

There aren’t any such tiered suspensions in regards to gambling violations.  Major League Ruling 21, paragraph D addresses gambling penalties as such:

Betting on ball games:  Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game with the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.

Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall be any  sum whatsoever with which the bettor as a duty to perform shall be permanently ineligible.

In other words, betting on a game where you don’t affect the outcome, you are out for a year; in games where you have any influence, you are gone for good.

Rose was never given the chance of tiered disciplinary actions such as players tested for drugs or steroids.  And doesn’t drug or steroid use do more to the determent of the game than gambling does?

Besides, Rose gambled more intensely has a  manager than he ever did as a player.  Fair thing to do is to allow him into the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a player but don’t ever allow him to have any type of employment in baseball because of his actions as a player.  And of the man wants to buy a ticket and watch a game, for crying out loud, let him.

Rose knows he disrespected baseball.  But there is no one on this planet that loves the game more than he does.  His style of play and constant hustle endeared him to fans and still does to this day.

Hasn’t Rose paid his dues?  Isn’t it enough that because of his discretions, his life after baseball was full of turmoil and grief?  Has he not shown enough remorse for his actions?

Baseball hierarchy needs to re-evaluate its stance on Rose.  I believe Rose has paid his dues and it’s time to welcome the Hit King to his place in baseball.

Welcome to Seattle Mr. Graham!

 

Here's to points in the Red Zone!
Here’s to points in the Red Zone!

You have to admire the Seahawks.

Like a quarterback that just threw a pick-six interception, in football deals, you have to have a short memory.

One of the main things Jimmy Graham will bring to the table is the ability to score in the dreaded red zone.  The last nine times Graham was targeted on plays starting from the opponents 1-yard line, eight of those completions were for touchdowns.

I don’t point that out because of the failure to make that catch in the Super Bowl.  I point that out because the Seahawks needed a proven player they can count on to make that catch.

As for the issues with Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett, water under the bridge.  In fact, I kind of liked that Irvin and Bennett did what they did…needle an opposing player.

But that was years ago and I’m pretty sure that Irvin and Bennett knows what Graham brings to the table.

The team, as a whole, continues to evolve and it must in order to maintain a high level of excellence.  Sure, Seattle has lost some very good players to other teams.  But the core players on defense, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett are pretty much locked up for the foreseeable future.

But outside of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, what is the core of the Seattle offense?  The Hawks have needed receiver help for a long time and Jimmy Graham will go a long way to help out with that.  But the Hawks can’t make the same mistake they did with Percy Harvin and try to make the offense run through Graham.

Opposing teams figured that out pretty quickly with Harvin and the true nature of the team was out of balance.  Hawks need to stay with the philosophy that got them to the Super Bowl the last two years.  Run the ball with one of the best running backs in the NFL, Beast Mode.

But like I said before, the Seahawks need to keep evolving to stay successful…and that means opening the playbook for Russell to have better targets downfield.  I like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse as receivers but I don’t see them in the same class of receiver that Jimmy Graham is in.

Hawks are only going to have seven picks in this years draft, none in the first round.  The top team needs are wide receiver, defensive tackle, offensive guard and cornerback.

Here is my wish list:

Round 2, 64th Pick:  Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida.  Last name sound familiar?  It should.  Breshad is the son of former WR Brett Perriman who played in the league for 10 years and was a very productive pass-catcher.  His son is listed at 6-2, 212 lbs. and posts a 4.55 40.  He has nice size and speed and has the ability to take a short slant play and turn it into big yardage.  With him, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham on the field, opposing defense have to respect the receivers which gives Lynch even more of an opportunity to run wild.

Round 3, 95th Pick:  Unless the Seahawks do something to get back up to the first round, I don’t see them getting University of Washington’s Danny Shelton this late.  Defensive tackles are the rage and there are a lot of teams that want to find the next Ndamukong Suh.  I think that Shelton can be that type of player but there is no hope the Hawks will get him this late.

But they do need a defensive tackle as Kevin Williams is on the downside of his career.  Hawks could take a shot at Carl Davis out of Iowa.  He’s 6-4, 321 lbs. mountain of a man that can stuff runs and bull rush his way to the pocket.  Granted, this would be a “chance” pick as during his team interviews at the senior bowl, he came off as lazy and arrogant.  If the Seahawks can get his head screwed on straight he could be a dominant inside player the Hawks thrive on.

Round 4, 136th Pick:  Seahawks have had a lot of success with cornerbacks picked in the late rounds.  I still can’t get over how good Richard Sherman has become but was picked in the 5th round.

Seahawks could have the same success and not look any further than there own backyard.  Marcus Peters out of the University of Washington is tall and rangy in the mold the Seahawks like.  At 6-0 and 190 lbs. he has the physical aspects to take on physical wide receivers.

But there is a question of his maturity.  He had several run-ins with new Washington head coach Chris Peters that eventually led to Peters being dismissed from the team.

But I would imagine that being around Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor, they could turn this kid around and make him a strong member with the Legion of Boom.

Seahawks don’t need much…after all, just how much is needed to improve for a team that went to the Super Bowl the last two years in a row.  But I will keep pounding that the Hawks do need to continue to evolve and get the talent on offense that will make Russell Wilson even more successful on the field.

The Hawks, at best, will have Lynch for another two years.  That’s the time table they have to get Wilson to the next level of quarterback play.

Go Seahawks!

Good-bye Mr. Suh, We Hardly Knew Ya!

Looks like Suh will sign with Miami for $114 Million
Looks like Suh will sign with Miami for $114 Million

 

Alright, let’s everybody take a deep breath….and now exhale.

Detroit Lions all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is poised to bolt to the Miami Dolphins.  With his exit, Suh will achieve his goal of being the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

Funny thing about that achievement is it will only last a year or two.

Anyone who is even a fair-weather fan of the Detroit Lions will see this as a colossal mistake in letting him go.  And anyone that remains a fan will point to Detroit Lions management and yell “you screwed us again!” and be right.

However, looking at this from a different perspective, it may work out better for the Lions financially.  But then again, the Lions aren’t the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to finances.

We all know when Barry Sanders was here they needed to spend money on building a team around him.  While they came close, they never really go over the hump that would have at least given the greatest running back whoever played the game a Super Bowl appearance.

As for Suh, yep, it’s gonna suck that the Lions have a huge hole to fill now.  But at least it sets them up to draft appropriately…wait, this is the Lions, right?

Suh is gone and I don’t have a lot of faith in Nick Fairley.  Say what you want about Suh.  But the one thing you have to admit, the man stayed healthy and came to play.  Teams had to account for him and when they didn’t he made them pay.

But is he truly a freak of nature?  Are there some defensive tackles in the college ranks that could fill that void?  I believe there is and here are the ones that I think would help ease the pain:

Danny Shelton – University of Washington:  This guy is an absolute monster.  6’1″ and weighing in at 343 lbs. he would be a great run-stuffer.  He can bulldoze into the backfield and collapse the pocket quickly.  Teams are going to have to always double-team him because I don’t think there is any interior lineman that can hold him one on one for long.

In 2014, he was one of the leaders in sacks for defensive tackles, registering nine.  On top of that, Shelton had 87 tackles with an astounding 16.5 of them for losses.

If the Lions want to fill the hole, Shelton would be a great pick at 23.  Shelton is considered a top 25 player.

Malcom Brown – Texas:  Coming in at 6’2″ and 319 lbs, Brown is a very different player than Shelton is…but just as effective.

He is a dangerous pass rusher and showed that he can shed blocks.  Quite often, Brown overwhelmed opposing linemen.  He recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014  to go along with 71 tackles (13 for loss) and two forced fumbles.  Kid has a great motor and is always a tough assignment.

Jordan Phillips – Oklahoma:  6’5′ and 329 lbs.  Has a surprising burst for a big man and uses his size to overwhelm linemen.  He can cause a lot of disruption at the point of attack and would be a great candidate for a 3-4 defense if the Lions go that way.

These are just 3 players in the ranks that I believe can play defensive tackle for the Lions.  Will any of them make us forget Ndamukong Suh?  Doubtful as Suh is a one of a kind player.

But I do think any of these three will create enough havoc in opposing backfields.  And there wouldn’t be a big step backward in the defensive line philosophy the Lions currently employ.

Suh is gone and there is nothing we can do about it.  And yelling at the Lions management won’t do much either.  We need to trust (which I know is a hard thing to do) the management to fill the void and keep the Lions in contention.

I’m going to keep hoping the Lions will make smart and savvy draft day decisions and spend wisely in free agency.

Go Lions!

 

Detroit Lions Draft – The Beer Thinkers Take

Lion Confused

For years, perhaps decades, the Detroit Lions always seem to be confused on what to do at draft time.

Oh sure, they have gotten some great players like Barry Sanders, Chris Speilman, Lomas Brown, Billy Sims, and Calvin Johnson.  And while these great players brought excitement to the area, none have yet delivered what Detroit Lions fans want:  A Super Bowl Championship.

I don’t put the blame on the players…they aren’t the ones who fail to get other good to great players to support the “chosen” ones to lead them to the promised land.  No, that rests on the dolts who fail to find players late in the draft that can be the difference between a 12-4 team to an 7-9 team.  And for the most part, the disparity really isn’t all that far apart.

But this isn’t going to be yet another article blasting Lions front office for failing to get the players needed.  Why?  Because the Lions are not that far away from getting there.

For the first time I can remember in a long time, the Lions can actually use this draft to strengthen an already strong team instead of trying to rebuild.

So what do the Lions need?  First, let’s make some assumptions:

1.  I am not a football expert nor am I one of those people that delve into tons of research…much of what you will see in this post will be my opinion, things coming from my gut and not much else.

2.  I, like everyone else in the world (both cyber and reality) have an opinion.  Deal with it.

3.  I have limited knowledge on college players.  Much of what I gather will be mainly from other draft sites and information on the players themselves.  I envision a players dimension, his size and speed…and I do some work on what type of person he is off the field.  To this point, I am not looking for Dudley Do-Right (yes, I am that old) but I also don’t want a player who has a felony past.

4.  Ndamukong Suh will be with the Lions either with a new contract or will be franchised.

Fair enough?  Cool, on with what the Lions need!

The Lions have 6 draft picks this year, rounds 1-4 and then 6,7.  No pick in the 5th round.

Offensive Line

Not since the days of Barry Sanders have the Detroit Lions had an offensive line that has been worth a damn.  For the life of me, past and present GM’s seem to think an offensive line can be built with cast-offs when anyone with half a brain can see statistically that teams with good offensive line are generally going to have more wins than losses.

Riley Reif has turned into a really good left tackle.  What concerns me is there really is no one behind him if he needs a rest or gets injured.  The Lions can find a good back-up in Jamon Brown out of Louisville.  He is 6-6 and 323 pounds who is a good run blocker.  He’ll need some help on pass protection but that can be coached into him by Offensive Line coach Jerimah Washburn and Assistant Offensive Line coach Bobby Johnson.

However, that may be a luxury pick.  What’s really a concern is right tackle, since LaAdrian Waddle couldn’t stay healthy.  Perhaps drafting Brown in the 6th round and starting him on the right side and leave Waddle as a capable back-up to both would be wise.

Cornerback

Another area the Lions seem to want to fill with guys off the street.  They would be wise to look at the Seattle Seahawks philosophy and start getting some big, physical corners and safeties that can cover the big, physical wide receivers that have been a problem for the Lions for a very long time.

Darius Slay is going to need some help and this draft should get him some.  There are 3 CB’s that I see the Lions should target with their #2 pick:

Trae Waynes out of Michigan State.  He’s 6’1, 185 lbs. and has 4.43 speed.  He’s got the size and athletic ability for press cover and will only get stronger as he plays.

Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest.  6’1 but only 175 lbs.  But he can bulk up to NFL standards pretty easily.  He has the length to cover the big receivers on the sidelines.

Marcus Peters from University of Washington.  6′ and 190 lbs. he could be a steal in this draft if his head is on right.  He’s the player who had multiple run-ins with new coach Chris Peters and was eventually kicked off the team.  But other cornerbacks in recent years such as Janoris Jenkins and Tyrann Mathieu were kicked off teams and have turned it around to have careers in the NFL.

Peters has the quickness and agility to stay with receivers in coverage.  It would be a roll of the dice but if he’s there at three or four, they should think about grabbing him.

Running Back

Reggie Bush is gone and Joique Bell is near that age (28) when running backs start to decline.  And I do not have a lot of faith in Theo Riddick or George Winn to be capable back-ups.  Riddick did show flashes of brilliance as an effective pass catcher out of the backfield and I would love to see the Lions utilize him more in that role.  But the Lions might want to consider taking a running back in the first round.

Lions need to a have a more effective running game to give to allow the passing game to take more shots down the field to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

Jeremy Langford, Michigan State.  I know, no way the Lions should take this guy in the first round.  But I am impressed by his speed.  He ran a 4.42 40 yard dash at the 2015 combine.  And if there is anything the Lions lack at the running back spot right now is speed.  If Langford is there at four, take him, provided the Lions didn’t draft a RB with their first pick.

Todd Gurley, Georgia.  Gurley is talented enough, strong enough and fast enough to start over Joique Bell right now.  He has a great combination of speed (4.49 40 time) and power with the ability to break tackles and be a threat to score on any carry.  Lions really haven’t had that type of threat since Barry Sanders.  Imagine how he could affect the passing game when teams will have to pay attention to him at all times.  If he’s there at 23, Lions need to draft him.

If the Lions want to wait and hope until the third round, Mike Davis from South Carolina would be a nice addition to the Lions.  He’s 5-9 and 223 lbs.  He is a physical, downhill runner who can hit the hole, good receiver out of the backfield and some surprising explosion to go along with good vision and balance.  He would be competing with Riddick for time and if he makes the cut, it would be so long for George Winn.

Lions need to bolster up these weak spots.  Both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are running out of time, more so CJ than Stafford.

I really hope the Lions make the smart moves…whether it’s these guys or others, they need to bolster these areas to make a bid for the 2015 Super Bowl.

Go Lions!