- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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As Pete Rose remains banned for betting on baseball during his years as a player and manager, the baseball legend believes those who take performance-enhancing drugs have sullied the game worse than he did.
"They're both bad. I think in my case, I know I didn't do anything to alter the statistics of baseball," Rose said on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN 98.7 FM. "As you know, baseball statistics are sacred. That's why baseball cards are worth more than football cards, why that Honus Wagner card is going for a couple million bucks, why baseball memorabilia is much more valuable than football or basketball memorabilia.
"I had nothing to do with altering statistics of baseball, and these guys, that take PEDs -- wouldn't it be nice if you could ask Babe Ruth the same question, or Roger Maris the same question or Hank Aaron, who won't talk about it. I'd like to hear what their response will be because those are the guys who lost their records because of supposedly steroids."
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will be suspended for all of the 2014 season for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, admitted in 2009 that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs for three years, starting in 2001.
Rodriguez has since denied he took any PEDs from Biogenesis or its founder, Anthony Bosch, but his appeal of his suspension was not overturned. It was, however, reduced from 211 games to 162 games and the 2014 postseason by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on Jan. 11.
Rose, who has texted with Rodriguez, was glad to see him drop his lawsuit against baseball. By dropping the lawsuit, Rodriguez officially accepted his 162-game suspension and will not be reporting to spring training, as he'd planned.
"Alex, sit out your year and keep yourself ready," Rose said. "I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he doesn't come back and be a productive player. He loves the game, he loves the tradition of the game, he made a mistake like the rest of us did.
"It's going to be interesting to see how Alex handles the offseason. I don't want to hear he's going to play for the (Long Island) Ducks or some independent league team. He doesn't need to do any of that kind of stuff because then you're creating a circus type of atmosphere."
Rose has always been perplexed that -- in his opinion -- Rodriguez does not have more confidence.
"I never seen a guy that can make $25 to $30 million a year that has less confidence than Alex Rodriguez," Rose said. "There are three ways you can treat a person -- pat him on the butt, kick him in the butt or leave him alone. You got to pat Alex on the butt. You have to tell him how good he is on a daily basis. That's the way I read Alex Rodriguez. He's not very confident. All that skill he has, and the way he performed over the years, you think the guy would be a real ass-kicker. He's kind of a non-confident guy. I thought that was kind of strange."
2dJesse Rogers and Jerry Crasnick