Pete Rose’s long shot didn’t come in on Monday when Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred denied the all-time hits leader’s request to lift his lifetime ban for gambling
So Rose doubled down on Tuesday in a news conference in — of all places — Las Vegas.
Citing his love of the game, Rose joked: “I should probably be the commissioner of baseball.”
Rose replacing Manfred seems about as likely as baseball one day agreeing to let the 74-year-old fully back into its good graces. Rose seemed to understand that, saying that he put Manfred “in a tough spot to make a judgment on my situation.”
Rose wore a white hat in his surreal appearance at the Pete Rose Bar and Grill on South Las Vegas Boulevard while proclaiming “I’m a good guy.”
But if the symbolism of holding his post-decision news conference in the gambling capital of America dawned on Rose, it wasn’t apparent. “There was a time in my life when I was out of control — gambling,” said Rose, who was seated with his attorney in front of a “hit throne” constructed of wooden bats. “But I worked hard at it and I got it under wraps the last . . . several years and I am in control of my life right now.”
In his written decision released on Monday, Manfred disagreed. Rose was banned in 1989 under baseball’s “Rule 21,” which deals with gambling on baseball while employed by a club. Rose was accused of betting on baseball while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds and possibly when he was a player. He denied the allegations until 2004, when he admitted betting on baseball in an autobiography.
Rose believes he is a changed man, although he said he still likes to bet recreationally and legally on baseball games.
In a statement released on Monday, Manfred wrote: “Allow ing him to work in the game presents an unacceptable risk of a future violation by him of Rule 21, and thus to the integrity of our sport. I, therefore, must reject Mr. Rose’s application for reinstatement . . . It is not all clear to me that Mr. Rose has a grasp of the scope of his violations of Rule 21.”
Rose remains hopeful he will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame at some point.
“I am a baseball person — that’s never going to change,” he said. “I spent 26 years in the major leagues, and I can tell you without a doubt that the last 26 years were a hell of a lot worse than the 26 years that I spent in the big leagues. All I want is to have baseball and Pete Rose to be friends so that I am not an outsider looking in — just be associated with baseball, that’s all.”
Although Manfred seemed to open the door for Rose to be considered for the Hall of Fame, that institution’s president Jeff Idelson told MLB Network “nothing has changed” in terms of putting ineligible players on the ballot.
“My whole life has been a Hall of Fame life,” Rose said.