Song Of The Day 4/13/2016: Dan Bern – “Gamblin' With My Love (Pete Rose)”

Baseball Week – "Gamblin' With My Love (Pete Rose)" recalls the bitter decline of baseball legend Pete Rose, who had a gambling problem. It's not the same as you or me having eating, drinking, drug or glue-huffing problems, because Rose's gambling problems apparently compromised the integrity of the game. I mean, I'm sure they didn't help. It'd be much better if Rose didn't bet on games. But did Rose really hurt the integrity of the game more than shady guys in leather caps who ran "nutritional supplement" companies out of strip malls and tethered themselves by their watch chains to the ever-bulging heels of their clients? Was Rose's fall more spectacular than Rafael Palmeiro's thumping finger-wag at Congress, a mere four months before he got run out of the game for testing positive? Which was the bigger cancer: Rose's feverish phone-dialing or Ty Cobb slapping a black groundskeeper and choking his wife?*

Well, anyhow, Dan Bern tells a rather fanciful story-within-a-story, depicting himself writing a one-act play about Pete Rose meeting with former baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in a discreet Motel 6. Bern's girlfriend enters into the fray, and before you can say "Screenplay By Charlie Kaufman" the song morphs into something else. This tastefully rendered, shaggy-dog character inspection twists some nice busted metaphors together which, taken together, help to overcome the unfortunate triple-A backup instrumentation.

*Note: Ty Cobb allegedly stopped hating other races sometime before he died. If I hadn't found that out the opening to this post would have spent a lot more time talking about him.

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