It’s possible to be selfish and arrogant and help your team. If a player hits a home run in an arrogant matter, that’s still worth at least one run. If Rickey selfishly stole second, that puts his team in a better position to score. Certainly, if he got himself thrown out all the time, he’d have been a detriment, but he was successful more than 75% of the time in his record-setting, 130-steal year. Baseball’s one of the most individual team sports. The game’s crux is a one-one-one battle, batter against pitcher, and even the most complex plays are serial actions–pitcher to batter to shortstop to first for the out. If everyone on a team was as good as Rickey and acted selfishly, they’d score 2,000 runs a year. In a strike-shortened season, where every game was rained out after the fifth inning. Playing in the Astrodome.
Rose violated rule 21(d) countless times and is serving the appropriate
penalty for doing so. Reinstating him would be an embarrassment to the game,
and a kick in the teeth to every player who obeyed the rule. There’s a
rationale in play that Rose’s admission is a step in the direction to
reinstatement. I actually see it as the validation of all the work Bart
Giamatti, John Dowd, and Fay Vincent did in researching Rose’s activities and
their evaluation of them. It was only the small possibility that he actually
was innocent that had been the one bullet in Rose’s gun.
That’s gone now. Rose violated 21(d). The punishment for that is permanent
ineligibility. There isn’t any gray area left.