and in any case, outrage is on somenlevel an admission that the deal was anquestionable idea to start with. Therenwas little talk here of “betrayal.” Instead,nthings got awfully quiet, even asnthe local media went nuts with thenstory.nThere was, however, much discussionnfrom other quarters — network talknshows, the national press — about athletesnas role models, children’s need fornheros, and Rose’s “betrayal of America’snyouth.” (To find out what Cincinnatinyouth were thinking, local TV reportersntrooped into area high schools, whereuponnviewers were treated to the spectaclenof teenagers, their adolescent selfconsciousnessncompounded by thenpresence of cameras, offering such insightsnas, “Like, you know, Pete’s reallyngreat and everything, so I don’t thinknthey should kick him out and stuff.”)nFrankly, the whole subject bewilderednme. It has always seemed to menan odd idea that sports figures are to benconsidered role models for children,nthat youngsters should be encouragednto learn how to live by observing thenconduct of famous strangers. It seemsnequally odd that those famous strangersnshould be expected — or trusted—tonteach them. If the life conduct of anprofessional athlete must be somethingnchildren can emulate, then why donadults themselves, as Cincinnatiansnhave over the years, serve their ownnneeds first by ignoring or forgiving sonmuch of the athlete’s personal behavior?nIf, on the other hand, the adultnfan’s test of an athlete’s hero status isnstrictly his professional performance,nwhy should a kid’s test be any lessnrealistic? Does anyone actually believenthat children cannot understand thendifference between a talented personnand a good person?nThe public nagging that follows thenidea of professional athletes, especiallynball players, as heros for chilren comesnmostly from adult males who nurture anstrong romantic connection to baseball,nthose who see the game in terms ofnpoetry — “eternal Spring,” “divinensymmetry,” and all that. Unlike the fansnwho practice the cult of personality (thenicon-builders), these baseball romanticsnpromote the cult of the game — “thenChurch of Baseball,” as the femalenmystic-cum-love object in Bull Durhamncalled it. But while the personalityncultists, when pushed to the wall bynsomething like the Rose incident, reactnhonestly (“I think he did it, but I don’tncare” may be crude, but it’s direct), thengame cultists get slippery when cornered.nWhat they said about the Rosenscandal was, more or less, that it hadnwounded the hero-starved psyches ofnbudding athletes everywhere. Whatnthey felt, however, seemed to be somethingnentirely different: Damn, realnlife, all irreverent and unpoetic, hasninterrupted our private services in thenChurch of Baseball.nIt’s fine for adults to have theirnemotional freebies, their secret littlencorners where fantasy and sentimentncan have free rein. That’s one of thenfunctions of sports, and you can evenngo ahead and call the whole businessnpoetry if you want to. What you cannotndo, unless you want to look prettynsilly, is use children as front men fornadult escapism and their needs as anrationalization for grown-up fantasiesngone bad. If the writers who so lovenbaseball were really thinking of kids,nthey would do a quick reality check andnlook at the Rose case for what it is. PetenRose was a public figure who knew thenrules, contracted to abide by the rules,nbroke the rules, and suffered the prescribednpunishment. He isn’t the onlynkind of public example one wouldnchoose for children, but as an objectnlesson he has his uses.nAfter “hero,” the word most frequentlynheard in the Rose saga wasn”tragic.” Pete Rose was labeled a “tragicnfigure,” and I guess in classic termsnhe is. But from close range, it was hardnto apply so grand a term to someonenwho seemed as hellbent on insultingneveryone’s intelligence as he was onnbringing himself down. To watch PetenRose handle the charges against himnwas to see a man on a psychologicalnkamikaze mission.nThere was one moment, though,nwhen the word “tragic” seemed almostnappropriate. During a local televisionninterview following his press conferencenon the day he was suspended.nRose was asked what, in the year 1991,nhe would wish for if he could havenanything he desired. The thoughtngrabbed Rose. A smile crossed his facenas he said that he would wish to be onnFountain Square in downtown Cincinnati,naccepting the World Series trophynin front of thousands of fans. “I knownwhat that feels like,” he said. And hisnnnwish was to feel that way again.nIt was the most sincere, open, unguardednthing he had said in public innsix months, and it ended up being asnuncomfortable to watch as all of hisnstubborn denials and straight-on lies.nThere he was, pushing 50 and lookingnit, his hair spiked like a high schooler (itngoes well with the Porsche), lost innreverie, turning his memories intonwishes. That’s what has-beens do.nAmerican youth would survive, andnadult services would resume soonnenough in the Church of Baseball. Butnfor Cincinnati, the party was over.nJanet Scott Barlow writes on popularnculture from her home in Cincinnati.nTHE ACADEMYnRacism at Stanford?nby fared TaylornThe Beethoven Poster CasenThe resurgence of campus racismnhas been a big topic in the newsnfor nearfy a year now. According to thenoften-cited National Institute AgainstnPrejudice and Violence in Baltimore,nthe number grows all the time. Bynmid-1989, the institute had reportedn”racist incidents” on 175 different campusesnwithin the last three years.nI live close to Stanford University andnuse its libraries. I was therefore interestednto read, two Octobers back, that thenscourge of bigotry had moved iri rightnnext door. Like most reports on campusnJANUARY 1990/51n