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Dowd suspects Rose bet against his team  

As baseball commissioner Rob Manfred considers lifting the lifetime ban on Pete Rose to allow his election to the Hall of Fame, evidence has surfaced that he may have bet AGAINST his team while managing the Cincinnati Reds.  In an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Rose investigator John Dowd said: “That evidence didn’t reach the standard to be included in our report.”  But apparently it reached the standard to be in mainstream media. Dowd said Rose in 1989 would have faced only a temporary exile if he had admitted to betting on baseball and had entered a gambling-addiction program.  The Justice Department had agreed not to charge him with tax evasion if he’d enter treatment.  Rose stuck to his denial and spent five months in federal prison.  But he’s done well since.  Disgrace can be lucrative.  What Hall of Famer gets $1 million a year for autograph sessions?  The Wall Street Journal reported that Rose made $3 million in 2007.  Joe Casey, who manages Rose’s autograph business, told the Enquirer the Hit King signs for five hours a day, 15-25 days a month, at Mandalay Place, a mall on the Las Vegas Strip.  Rose has issued so many autographs that their value is minimal, but fans pay dearly to spend time with him.  

Between the Lines: Manfred said he will consult Dowd before deciding whether or not to reinstate Rose.  If Dowd thinks Rose bet against his team, that would seem to be a deal-breaker.


Cubs send their best hitter, Kris Bryant, to minors

Although Kris Bryant was leading the team in batting (.425) and home runs (9) in spring-training games, the Chicago Cubs told the 23-year-old third baseman he would be starting the season in the minor leagues.  Last season he led the minors with 43 homers and .661 slugging.  So it didn’t look like he needed more development.  But if Bryant goes back to the minors for 12 days, the Cubs will get to control his rights for an extra year, meaning he will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season. The move provoked a threat of litigation from the Players Association, which issued a statement saying, “Today is a bad day for baseball.” 


White Sox offer spring bargain: 11 games for $29

With the weather so cold during the spring in Chicago that tickets to baseball games are hard to sell, the White Sox are practically giving them away.  They’re offering a package deal, $29 total for all 11 home games on Monday through Thursday in April and May.  Marketing director Brooks Boyer said, “Given the weather we have and the product we’ve had in the past . . . it made sense for us to use these games to let people sample, or snack, on us.”


Bulls players Noah, Butler join fans in the Wave

On the way to a 31-point rout of the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau rested his starters for the fourth quarter.  Sitting on the bench, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler were so bored they joined the fans at United Center in participating in “the Wave.”


D-Rose joins Bulls for practice, eyes playoffs

Barely a month after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is running plays with the team in practice.  He appears to be on schedule to play in several games before the postseason begins.  “He was aggressive,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.  “He was a little winded, but we expected that.”


Morey: Rockets ‘can win the title without Beverley’  

Although the Houston Rockets’ starting point guard, Patrick Beverley, had season-ending wrist surgery, and the power forwards, Terrance Jones and Donatus Motiejunas, are also out with injuries, general manager Daryl Morey insisted his team, No. 2 in the Western Conference, is a contender for the NBA championship.  “We think we can win the title with or without Beverley,” he said on ESPN.  But he acknowledged that Beverley “is the key to our ability to guard a lot of these very good point guards in the West.”  Morey sees Golden State, with point guard Steph Curry as “deservedly” the conference favorite, but he said, “We do feel like we can beat anybody in a seven-game series.”

Between the Lines: Never mind that the Rockets lost by double digits in all four games this season against Golden State.


Rams have 3 QBs, but Fisher wants to draft another

After swapping starting quarterbacks with the Philadelphia Eagles, the St. Louis Rams have Nick Foles as No. 1, but coach Jeff Fisher is looking for more at the key position.  He traded a 7th-round pick in next year’s draft for Houston Texans backup Case Keenum, and he said he intends to keep Austin Davis, who is 25 and played for St. Louis last season.  Fisher said that despite having three QBs on the roster, “we intend to draft another one.”  With the 10th pick in the first round, Fisher does not expect to acquire either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, who are considered the two best passers in the draft.  But Fisher doesn’t rule out trading up, and he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  “There are some outstanding players once you get beyond them.”  Most draft gurus say Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty will be the next best available but are not first-round material.


Browns GM Farmer suspended for texting to sidelines

Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season.  His misdeed?  He was caught sending text messages from the press box to the sideline, in violation of league rules.  Sources close to the Browns said it was not only Farmer who was violating policy, it was also owner Jimmy Haslam, who reportedly sent text messages – play recommendations — to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan who since resigned from the team.  Farmer came forward to confess his violation, perhaps to divert attention from Haslam.  The question remains what upsets the league office about texting during games.  In announcing the punishment, the league did not explain why texting is an issue.


Jameis intends to watch the draft at home

Jameis Winston, who’s almost certain to be the first player chosen in the NFL draft next month, does not want to be part of the nationally televised event.  He said in an interview with NFL Network that he wants “to be with my family.  My grandmother can’t travel because she has Type 2 diabetes and has had multiple surgeries. . . . I want her to be with me.”

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