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Somebody shut Pete Rose up

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Suggesting that a player should play through a head injury is irresponsible and reminds us all that Pete Rose is, above all else, an idiot.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the playoffs are important. Yes, every plate appearance and every pitch and every play in the field has the potential to change the course of the season. I can understand why, with these high stakes, some people might be alarmed that the Blue Jays removed Josh Donaldson from last night's loss to the Rangers after he was kneed in the head while breaking up a double play. In these short series, everything (including our emotions) are amplified.

And, looking at their starting lineup today, which has Donaldson penciled in in his usual spot, we might be tempted to criticize the Jays for overreacting and costing themselves chances to win Game 1. But make no mistake, the Blue Jays did the right thing by sitting Donaldson down as a precaution after what looked like a vicious (and entirely unintentional) shot:

For one thing, head injuries are notoriously tricky to diagnose, especially in the immediate aftermath of the trauma. Consider what Brandon McCarthy wrote last night about the time when his skull was fractured by a line drive:

That's frightening, not just because of what could have happened to McCarthy, but because it shows how unreliable these tests are. And certainly, none of us would want to send a hurt player back out to potentially aggravate his injury even more. If we would, we would be some kind of sociopathic monster who can't feel empathy.

Which is where we turn to Pete Rose. Rose, in addition to being a serial liar and an unrepentant asshole, fancies himself an analyst about today's game, and has been employed as such by the Fox Network.  He thinks that Donaldson should have stayed out there:

Look, Pete Rose was once one of the greatest players in baseball history. He is, and perhaps forever will be, The Hit King. And I am sure that, on occasion, he might have some wisdom to impart to today's players.

But Pete Rose doesn't deserve that chance, not when there are dozens (and maybe hundreds) of others more qualified, more connected to, and better able to communicate with players in today's game. Pete Rose retired as a player in 1986, almost 30 years ago. He was suspended in 1989, more than 25 years ago. In 2015, there were 956 players who got at least one plate appearance in Major League Baseball. Of those players, 885 of them were born in or after 1981, and would not remember him as a player. Hell, at least 245 of them were born after he had been suspended. He has nothing to say that they're going to want to hear.

Moreover, Pete Rose has nothing to say that I want to hear. We have heard all season about how baseball has trouble attracting younger viewers. And in response to that, Fox puts a 74 year old man on TV to tell us how the game was played back in his day? "We just rubbed some dirt on our brains and went home to drink away the headaches with Budweisers, son." Rose's kind of idiotic "insight" appeals to one group, and to one group only: old white guys. And I've got news for you: They're already baseball fans. And they're going to continue to be baseball fans whether their patron saint of false hustle and gambling addiction is on TV or not.

Meanwhile, Rose gets to spend his evenings promoting the idea that brain injuries aren't serious, when we have ample evidence that they are. Feel free to ask Justin Morneau, or Joe Mauer, or Jonathan Lucroy, or Corey Koskie, or Denard Span, or Jason LaRue or any of the other players who have seen their careers altered by head injuries. Just don't ask Ryan Freel, because you can't. Ryan Freel is dead, likely because of the injuries he suffered and playing through them.

To suggest that Josh Donaldson should do the same is ignorant and irresponsible, and exactly what we should expect from Peter Edward Rose Sr. Players should be protected after head injuries, not immediately put back on the front line to exacerbate the trauma.

I have no doubt that Pete Rose got his bell rung as a ballplayer. He probably suffered concussions. He probably caused others. And he almost certainly played through them. Hell, maybe that's part of why he says and does the things he says and does. But that doesn't matter right now.

That doesn't make Pete Rose better than Josh Donaldson. It makes him a product of his times. And those times are over, thank God. I don't need them eulogized on my TV for me every night by a miserable old coot who's incapable of telling the truth and whose judgment, frankly, we should all be questioning all the time. Fox, if it had any judgment of its own, should take away his damn microphone before he embarrasses himself, and them, again.