Thirty days. A $10,000 fine.
Sounds OK to me. Pete Rose did the creime. Now do some significant time.Meantime, would everyone in Cincinnati or elsewhere griping about Rose's suspension for shoving umpire Daved Pallone please stop acting like National League president Bart Giamatti is Black Bart?
Repeat after me. He's the good guy. He's upholding law and order.
Giamatti is guilty of nothing more than a William F. Buckley impersonation in his lecture of Reds broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall, and that probably came from wearing his mortarboard too tight at Yale.
But Giamatti isn't the one who ran out on the field, flouted authority and helped incite the Riot on the River.
All over Cincy, we have Giammati equated with Judge Roy Bean, the hangin' judge, the law west of the Cuyahoga. Reds' fans, players and brass are outraged. The city council passed a resolution backing Rose. Vice mayor Pete Strauss spent $75 to have 200 "Pete, Marty and Joe forever! Giamatti NEVER!" bumper stickers printed.
Off base. Every one of them.
The thing is, sports in general, and baseball included, for wa-a-ay too long has let official-bashing go too far round the bend.
Baseball has allowed the Leo Durochers and Earl Weavers and Billy Martins to run out onto the field and curse umpires, kick dirt on them, slobber in their faces, toss bats and balls at them and sometimes get physical _ but has given back only wrist-slapping reprimands.
All in the name of "color." Up to a point, it's understandable. It's as American as apple pie to vent one's spleen.
But some guys don't know when to stop. These are the Martins who reacted to the Rose incident by saying, "I'm knocking you out," if a Pallone did something similar to him.
"It isn't that he ran over a kid with a car," said Martin about Rose. First of all, I love it when Martin lectures us on social mores. It's kind of like Al Capone enlightening us on gun control.
Secondly, no, Rose didn't hit anyone with a car, and he's not being punished accordingly. He's getting 30 days, more like assault and battery, closer to what he did.
Rose defenders have pointed out that Giants pitcher Juan Marichal received only a $1,750 fine and a nine-day suspension for clubbing Dodger catcher John Roseboro with a bat. Backward thinking. Marichal should have been penalized much more.
We live in a time when basketball coaches toss chairs across floors when they don't like calls. When high school refs, for Pete's sake, are being sued for bad calls.
It's got to stop. We need to understand that umpires will occasionally make bad calls. It's called "being human." We need to react more responsibly.
That's something Brennaman and Nuxhall didn't do, by the way. They filled the airwaves with such statements as "Dave Pallone absolutely stinks _ he's a rotten umpire." When toilet paper was thrown on the field, Brennaman said, "I find that very appropriate."
Brennaman and Nuxhull later apologized, rightly. But Brennaman also said he didn't feel he provoked fans.
That's silly. Announcers and managers have a direct bearing on crowd reaction. And the reaction is getting worse. In recent years, we've had smoke bombs, baseballs, bottles, coins and knives cascading from the stands.
These things hurt. They could cost someone an eye. His life, even.
The Riot at the River wasn't just another crowd booing. An umpire was driven from the field. Radios, golf balls, cups and other debris were hurled at the umps. Fellow ump John Kibler, a 24-year veteran, said, "Certainly, it was as unruly a crowd as I've ever seen. Certainly, I was afraid."
We can't have that. Otherwise, one of these days "Kill the umpmire" is going to come all too true. We've got to stop incidents like the Riot on the River. Rose is as good a place as any to start.