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by: Paul W.. Slots, Online casino gambling articles.
Gambling Online Magazine interviews an extraordinary writer about an extraordinary man: Rick Hill is one of the few men ever to get inside the head of Pete Rose, and learned, first hand, the toils of living the greatest modern tragedy in professional sports.

Hill: “Perhaps the most interesting thing that I discovered about Pete Rose was what gambling meant to him. There are all sorts and varieties of gamblers ranging from the recreational gambler to the hard-core pathological addictive gambler. I put Pete somewhere in the middle of that equation.

I do that because what I noticed about Pete is that he is a fiercely competitive individual who feels like he has to win at everything he does. Whether it’s checkers, chess, tennis, baseball, volleyball, you name it, and Pete has to win. He has a brain chemistry that is not unique, but it’s certainly the Type-A personality you would equate with a General Patent or Douglas MacArthur- people who are absolute leaders, people who absolutely must win and are willing to put everything at risk for victory.

What I noticed about Pete during the many times I went to the racetrack with him was that he never bet against himself. I’ve been to the racetrack with Pete six or seven times, but he has never bet against himself with a ticket. If he bets the seven, six exacta, that’s all he bets – he will never buy a second ticket that is in conflict with the horse that he thinks is going to win. He does that with a passion and with a certain knowledge and enjoyment, but never have I seen him out of control and never have I seen him bet outrageous sums of money.

Now I know that with his sports gambling, we went into great detail of the gambling that he did back in ’86, ’87 and ’88. He loved to bet on football and basketball and that progressed to betting on baseball. But he never bet against the Reds, he never bet against his own team.

There’s been substantial corroboration of that from not only the 40 or 50 people I interviewed for the book that knew Pete well, but even the guys that testified against him in the report, there’s no evidence anywhere that Pete bet against his own team and personally I don’t think he’s capable of that.“

GOM: The American public is obsessed with Pete Rose’s gambling. It seems like it’s gotten more attention than his stellar career. If he never bet against his own team, is betting the game such a crime?

Hill: I don’t think it is. Pete has one of the top five or six most illustrious careers in the history of sports, he has 24 major league records, he’s got more hits than anybody on the planet, like John Belushi, or Elvis Presley, Pete Rose went to achieve God-like status in his life and I think people are somewhat in awe of what he did as a baseball player.

There’s plenty of opportunity for corruption in sports, that’s why I think baseball has to deal with it. I’m not trying to justify what he did. What I’m saying is I don’t believe that, if I’m going to watch a team and my favorite player is using cocaine, and if his cocaine supplier is also connected to a bookie who has inside information that a player is using drugs and it affects his performance, then that gives a certain level of corruption to any sporting event whether it’s basketball, football, baseball or tennis.

I just don’t think that you can look at one without looking at the other. If a baseball player shows up drunk the day of the game or extremely hung over, that’s going to affect his performance, if someone then has inside information about that, and places a bet accordingly, then that certainly affects the outcome of the game. I think there’s a lot of ways that a game could be corrupted through the activities of the players beyond gambling. Again I’m not justifying betting on your team, I’m not making an apology for Pete Rose or justifying what he did. I just don’t see that from a practical, legal and moral point of view that you can ban a gambler for life but give the drug addict seven, eight or nine changes for rehabilitation.

GOM: What impact has this all had on Pete Rose’s life?

Hill: The book process, which I began with Pete about five years ago, has been therapeutic for Pete. He feels vindicated in the sense that he’s finally got this lie off his back. Betting on baseball was wrong and lying about it was even worse, but there’s nothing he can do to change that. That’s who he was in 1988 and 1989.

Pete Rose is a fiercely competitive person and I don’t think he was able to separate the battles he could win from the battles that weren’t worth fighting – that was maybe a flaw in his personality, that he had to win at everything right or wrong and I think he’s come to grips with that. He’s not a warm and fuzzy guy, he’s not going to weep and wail or cry on Barbara Walters like Jason Williams did, but he’s a better man because of it and he feels better about having come clean.

GOM: What do you think the reaction of the betting public is to the scandal? Are they in favor of Pete as a fellow gambler or are they opposed to Pete because of the potential implications that it may have had on gambling in issues of corruption?

Hill: Well the issues of corruption are all very esoteric, it’s very intangible because nobody has ever been able to prove that there was any unfair advantage taken. Danny Sheraton who is the top analyst for USA Today here in the United States has known Pete for 15 years and he’s adamant about saying that no game that Pete ever coached or played in was ever taken off the boards in Las Vegas, no game was brought into question, so he said there was no evidence that there was ever any corruption or that anybody took any inside information and used it to their advantage.

Pete lost betting baseball, he was a net loser. So you can’t say that ‘wow’ he took an advantage and won hundreds of thousands of dollars because he didn’t, he lost. I think that the reaction from the fans based on all of the hundreds of emails that I’ve received, has been about 70% in Pete’s favour when they say ‘we understand the book and we appreciate you coming forward with the truth’. We didn’t write a propaganda piece to get Pete Rose into Hall of Fame, this is how he really feels on all the levels that he feels it – it’s not exaggerated, we could have written that book with remorse dripping off every page and Pete having this wonderful epiphany, but that would have been a fraud. He understands what he did, he’s a hard-nosed guy and he’s taken his lumps, he’s been punished for 15 years and he feels good about coming clean. Most of the fans understand that from Pete’s point of view.

I hope that baseball would take a look and give Pete an opportunity for redemption.

Rick Hill has been a writer, actor and director in Hollywood for twenty years. He has written several screenplays including 'The Longshot' based on the life of baseball star, Jim Eisenreich. Rick co-starred with Mike Connors in the ABC-TV series' 'Today's FBI,' and has directed over a dozen episodes of hour long drama, including the TV series' 'Born Free'.

'My Prison Without Bars' can be purchased at all book store outlets, online at Amazon.com or at www.PeteRose.com

© Copyright 2004 Gambling Online Magazine This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.