Remembering Bart Giamatti

My father would seek true remorse, which would lead to the reconfiguration of one's life. It would mean making the effort and having the courage to get help and turn a mistake into something positive, such as spreading the word to kids about the dangers of a gambling addiction. Instead, Rose and those who stand with him seem oblivious to the principles and standards of good citizenry that my father held so sacred.

The Rose dilemma isn't about how great a player he was. It also has nothing to do with today's steroid debacle or Rose's opinion about whether those accused of using performance-enhancing drugs belong in the Hall of Fame more or less than he does. It's about a broken rule. It's about arrogance. It's about stomping on the heart of baseball by committing its cardinal sin -- betting on the game -- and then somehow believing you should be given a pass. My father treated Rose, the all-time hits leader, with the same force he would have treated a small-time rookie. And he proved to Rose and everyone else that one player was not bigger than the game he loved.

Drawing closer to the end of another baseball season, we can honor my father's legacy by recognizing the beauty and poetry that he believed made baseball so special. He would encourage us to focus on the hope of baseball, on the possibilities that each season, each game, each pitch and each trip to the plate embody, and on making it a positive part of our daily lives.

But perhaps the best way to honor my father's legacy is to attend a baseball game. When you do, celebrate that which binds us together, the connection that is unique to baseball, one my father knew was a fundamental part of the American experience. A connection spanning generations. From boyhood to adulthood. From fathers to sons and daughters to grandmothers. From cities to familiar places. To simpler times.

Honor him by remembering that fair play and treating people with respect matter. After all, Bart Giamatti was an idealist who loved a human game with all its imperfections. A game that reflects our vulnerability. A game, like life, capable of great joy and redemption. A game, always and in every way, designed to break your heart.

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