January 12, 2004

A little sports

I don't often write about sports, so indulge me (anyone who reads this blog indulges me, so perhaps this goes without saying). A few observations on recent sporting headlines:

1. I am a devoted fan of Philadelphia sports teams, so take my bias into account, but Donovan McNabb, the Eagles quarterback, has had a stellar season in the only category that matters -- wins. The soft spoken McNabb has been the epitome of grace under fire, as have his teammates (particularly his receivers). I hate to say it (perhaps I say it because, having predicted it, I believe it won't happen -- a kind of reverse magic), but I suspect the Eagles will not win it all this year. Injuries have taken their toll. But that won't be the fault of McNabb.

2. Shoeless Joe Jackson was acquitted by a court for fixing the 1919 World Series, but nevertheless was barred from baseball, and the Hall of Fame. I think that was a grievous miscarriage of justice. Pete Rose, who was instrumental in my beloved Philadelphia Phillies winning their only World Series in what otherwise had been more than a century of baseball futility, broke the cardinal rule of baseball. For years he claimed that he was innocent, that he did not understand the terms of the agreement he signed that barred him from baseball. He did not fight it in court, and now he has admitted to betting on baseball, including on the team he managed. As much as I respect Rose's accomplishments as a player, which should (and are) enshrined in the Hall, the man himself does not belong there. Absent a confession from Rose, I would have believed that on the basis of the Shoeless Joe precedent (or rather, I would have suggested that Shoeless Joe had priority on entering the Hall over Rose), but after Rose's cynical confession, I am persuaded that the man simply does not deserve to be enshrined with the likes of Gehrig, Ruth and Williams. As an alternative, perhaps the late Tug McGraw, one of the pioneers of relief pitching, should find his place among the immortals of Cooperstown.

Posted by Ideofact at January 12, 2004 11:56 PM