Issue: "Roe v. Wade @ 31," Jan. 17, 2004

Around the horn

The split national championship became official when the Coaches Poll awarded its national championship to LSU after the Tigers handled Oklahoma in the BCS title game. Ignoring a contract mandating coaches to vote for the BCS title game winner, three coaches bucked the trend and voted USC No. 1. The Trojans took the AP national championship by capturing 48 of the 65 first-place votes.

In Tug McGraw's death, Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt remembered the former Mets and Phillies reliever for his crazy antics, sayings, and determination. "He put up a gallant fight," said Mr. Schmidt. "Publicly, he never let on that he had gotten a raw deal. He was Tug through the entire thing. As he always said, 'I front-loaded my life, just like my contract.'" The father of country music superstar Tim McGraw died last week from brain cancer.

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Finally: a predictable Wimbledon. The club that controls Britain's premier tennis event has decided to build a retractable roof to prevent the rain delays that have become as commonly associated with Wimbledon as strawberries and cream. Although future Wimbledons can expect uninterrupted play and predictable television schedules, dry times won't come until 2009 when the roof will be finished.

'In my mind, I wasn't corrupt'

WHILE PETE ROSE'S ADMISSION of guilt took 14 years, his admission into baseball's Hall of Fame remains on hold. Last week, Mr. Rose released excerpts of his upcoming book to Sports Illustrated, and they detail how the former player and Cincinnati manager wagered on baseball, even Reds games in which he managed, for nearly two seasons before he was caught.

For a nearly a decade and a half since his lifetime ban in 1989, Mr. Rose denied wagering on any baseball games. In reality, he bet on four or five games a week.

The famous Dowd Report revealed that Mr. Rose bet 52 times between 1987 and 1989 for Cincinnati to win, creating rampant speculation that Mr. Rose used inside information to govern his betting routine, or even worse, that he used his betting routine to affect his managerial duties. A baseball manager very well could employ his bullpen in a way that would give him a better shot at winning one game or the next. In his book Mr. Rose admitted to betting on Reds games in which he managed but, he says, he never wagered based on inside information and he never changed his managerial tactics based upon bets or future bets. "So in my mind, I wasn't corrupt," he says. But it's hard to know exactly when Mr. Rose tells the truth. In the supposed tell-all book, Mr. Rose denies he made bets from the clubhouse. But Thomas Gioiosa, a bookie and former housemate of the Reds manager, told reporters that not only did they make bets together from the clubhouse, but that they did it almost every day.

There weren't many that still believed Mr. Rose didn't bet on baseball. But the ex-manager's reasoning behind his 14-year campaign of lies may catch some by surprise. Said Mr. Rose in his book: "I should have had the opportunity to get help, but baseball had no fancy rehab for gamblers like they do for drug addicts. If I had admitted my guilt, it would have been the same as putting my head on the chopping block-lifetime ban. Death penalty. I spent my entire life on the baseball fields of America, and I was not going to give up my profession without first seeing some hard evidence. Right or wrong, the punishment didn't fit the crime-so I denied the crime."

Mr. Rose could have expected baseball's reaction to gambling-the sport's lone mortal sin. It took the sport many years to recover from crippling gambling scandals at the turn of the last century, including the infamous Black Sox scandal.

Mr. Rose's most staunch opponent through the years, former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, said he was outraged by the lack of shame or regret he sensed from reading the excerpts. "I guess I'm really disgusted. I think the whole thing is a sordid, miserable story. It's sort of like turning over a stone-you see a lot of maggots, and it's not very pretty."


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