A Stand-up Guy

What is Pete Rose’s explanation for failing to remember, throughout his life, his mother’s birthday?  “I just can’t seem to concentrate on things I’m not interested in.”

Ever since the news broke that Pete Rose was ready, after 14 years of lies, to admit what most people already believed—that, yes, he did bet on baseball—the sports world, and territories beyond, have been obsessed with the story.  The fullness of Rose’s confession can be found in his new book, My Prison Without Bars (written with Rick Hill).  The book begins with Rose’s desire to clear things up before heading off for “the big dirt-nap”; and it ends with his resolution to leave his pre-nap future in the hands of “the big Umpire in the sky.”

As for what Rose has to say in the intervening pages . . . well, where to start?  The book is one huge detonation of denial, blame-shifting, contradiction, and defensiveness, not to mention screaming ego, utter obtuseness, colossal—even awesome—self-absorption, and total macho b.s.  It is shocking without being engaging, hilarious without being funny, and believable without possessing the slightest hint of emotional truth.  To experience 322 pages of Pete Rose’s personality is to be in the presence of a man whose mind is inside out: Everything is positioned directly opposite its...

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