DAVID WATERS Rose makes sorry attempt at apologizing for actions
I've had issues with Pete Rose ever since he wrecked my childhood during the 1970 baseball All-Star game.
Rose scored the winning run in the 12th inning by running over catcher Ray Fosse, a rookie phenom for my beloved Cleveland Indians.
The blow fractured Fosse's shoulder and destroyed the hopes and dreams of young Indians fans everywhere. Fosse was never the same hitter again. Rose never even said he was sorry.
But that's not why I'm bothered by Rose's Hall of Shame behavior over the past few weeks.
I got over the Fosse thing long ago. Rose was just playing baseball the only way he knew how -- all out. That's what made him one of the greatest baseball players in history.
That's probably what continues to make him one of the lousier role models in sports.
Earlier this month, Rose finally admitted that he bet on baseball games while he was managing baseball games.
Rose's confession came after 14 years of denying it, lying about it and vilifying baseball for banishing him from the game and the Hall of Fame. It also came just before stores started selling his new book.
"I'm sure that I'm supposed to act all sorry or sad or guilty that I've accepted that I've done something wrong," Rose wrote in his sort-of apology.
"But you see, I'm not built that way ..."
Two things bother me about Rose's "Sorry, can I go now?" attitude.
First, Rose confessed but he didn't take responsibility for his actions.
"There is something unrepentant about Rose's confession," wrote Rabbi Peter Light, leader of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Memphis, Tenn., and a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.
"There are the people he blames: the bookies, the press, the commissioner's office. There are the illnesses he points to: not only the addiction to gambling, but oppositional defiant disorder.
"And nowhere is there recognition that he had any control over what happened to him. That to me is the true tragedy."
Second, Rose wants to be forgiven and restored to baseball, but he's skipping a step.
"Repentance is not complete until confession and pardon lead to penance that allows community to be restored," Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest, wrote in her book, "Speaking of Sin."
"Penance is the acceptance of the responsibility for repair."
We all make bad choices. We all do things about which we should confess and apologize, and for which we should be forgiven.
But what Rose doesn't seem to get, what a lot of us don't seem to get, is that confession and forgiveness are the beginning of a process of restoration, not the end of it.
Pete, saying you're sort of sorry isn't enough. Show us how truly sorry you are.
Accept responsibility for your actions. Apologize to the people you wronged. Go to schools and gyms and ball fields and tell kids how you messed up and what it did to you and how wrong you were.
Acknowledge that baseball was right to throw you out of the game and to keep you out of the Hall of Fame. Ban yourself from baseball for the next 14 years.
Go all out to repair the damage you have done to baseball, to other people and to yourself. People are amazingly forgiving, even when you mess with their hopes and dreams.
And who knows? You might find yourself back at home sooner than you think.
XDavid Waters writes for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.