CINCINNATI - Pete Rose, as everyone expected, was introduced to a thunderous, standing ovation from the crowd at Great American Ball Park roughly 20 minutes before the first pitch of Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
And yet, baseball's all-time hits leader, with 4,256 next to his name, remains an outcast, still serving a lifetime suspension for betting on baseball.
Nothing that happened Tuesday was going to change that, of course, despite Major League Baseball lifting its stadium ban for one night to allow Rose to join Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Joe Morgan on the field as the Reds' "Franchise Four," a fan-voted honor for each of the 30 teams.
The crowd began calling, "Peeeeete," before Morgan, the third Reds legend introduced, even joined the others near the mound. Once Rose appeared at the far end of the American League dugout, the applause grew, and he waved repeatedly to each corner of the park.
"This is the baseball capital of the world. I grew up here," Rose said on Fox Sports, for which he was a studio analyst for the game. "The fans are great. You never know what to expect from fans -- good, bad or indifferent. And they were great."
Earlier in the day, commissioner Rob Manfred repeated that he planned to meet with Rose to discuss his reinstatement, but still did not have a timetable for doing so.
When asked if he thought being part of Tuesday night's festivities would sway Manfred's decision, Rose said: "I don't know. I met him for the first time and I just thanked him because he's the reason I'm here."
Manfred said Tuesday morning in a radio interview that he wants to understand all of the facts as he prepares for an upcoming meeting with Rose.
"It's interesting, from the beginning, I've said I really want to understand all of the underlining facts and I think even since Pete applied for reinstatement, it's become clear that the facts are an evolving state of affairs. So I think it's really important," Manfred said on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" radio show.
Manfred said he wants the meeting -- whenever it may be -- to be comfortable so Rose can give whatever information he wants.
"The reason that I've said I'll meet with Pete, I think it's really important to understand Pete's frame of mind," Manfred said. "Understand where he is, how he feels about what has happened and what's his state of mind.
"So I'm going to consider all of that. I'm going to consider it with an open mind."
If he doesn't make the Hall of Fame or is not reinstated by Manfred, will Tuesday night's experience be enough for Rose?
"I'm the one who screwed up, see, so I can't get mad at anybody why I'm not where I belong or why I did this or why I did that," Rose said. "I'm just happy that he's willing to review my status and when I sit down with him, I'll tell him everything I did as a player and as a manager and we'll go from there. I'll be as honest as I can with him."
Asked about his chances for reinstatement by Manfred, Rose said: "I'm not going to make any odds. I don't know. If he's a fair man and he's willing to give someone a second chance, I'll be the happiest guy in the world. I understand he's got a tough job, but I'm a good guy. I'm not the same guy I was 29 years ago."
Speaking to the Baseball Writers Association of America in Cincinnati later yesterdayon TuesdayManfred said he was surprised at how much material there is to review about Rose.
"I remain committed to the idea that Mr. Rose deserves an opportunity to tell me in whatever format he feels most comfortable, whatever he wants me to know about the issues," Manfred said. "I'm sure there will be an in-person meeting. I want to schedule that meeting at a point in time that I'm comfortable that I have a good grasp of all the factual material."Manfred gave no timetable as to when that meeting would be scheduled.
"A part of it is related to what Mr. Rose and his represntatives want to do," Manfred said. "I've made it clear with them that I'm prepared to discuss that timetable, number one. Number two, in terms of my own thinking, timing is going to be determined by how quickly we can get the work done I want to get done before we talk to Mr. Rose."
MLBPA chief Tony Clark said the union has no formal role at this point in Rose's reinstatement.
"It's disappointing that in the same conversation that we talk about the man who's got the most hits ever in our game, it's tied to the banishment and the penalty that he's had for the last 26 years," Clark said. "I don't know that any of us understand or appreciate all the moving pieces tied to this particular situation."
Clark said he is disappointed about the link between the man with 4,256 career hits and his banishment from the game.
"It's disappointing that, my son's 13, and when we talk about Hank [Aaron], and we talk about Willie [Mays], and we talk about all these guys, and he's running through who's got the most RBIs, and the most home runs, and the most runs scored, and the most stolen bases," Clark said. "When we get to hits, he has a hard time appreciating or understanding what happened here and why that acknowledgment any time you bring up the number of hits he has, it's always tied to 'Is he going to be reinstated?' "
Bench, who has served on the Hall of Fame veterans committee, had some critical comments regarding Rose during an earlier appearance on "Mike & Mike."
"It's not up to me and I think a lot of people think I'm keeping him out of the Hall of Fame," Bench said. "It's baseball. It's the rules. It's the commissioner's choice now.
"But you have to understand, also, the commissioner now is dealing with at least one guy who is on suspension. He has 11 guys on suspension. If you go back in the history, 11 guys have been suspended. How do you approach that? And what order do you approach it?
"The fact is it's always been up to Pete. Pete had the chance to defuse this before it ever happened. He had a chance on two different occasions when I was on the committee, Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan, with the commissioner. We had it all lined out and everything else. It didn't take. It was like you have to adhere by these rules and it didn't happen. And it was again and it didn't happen."