The Athletic

Rosenthal: Pete Rose gave Rob Manfred no reason to change his mind

It’s sad, more than anything.

The average person who didn’t follow closely might sympathize with Pete Rose, believing he’s suffered long enough. That at 81, it’s time for baseball to forgive and forget. Reinstate it. Make him eligible for the Hall of Fame.

Except with Rose, it’s never that simple.

Commissioner Rob Manfred would be unwise to lift the lifetime ban of Rose, who the all-time king of the game received from the late Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in 1989 for betting on baseball. Rose is a joker who could embarrass Manfred and the sport at any time. Manfred, a labor lawyer, is not one to take such a risk. It either.

Even if Manfred was willing to lift the ban, Rose would hardly be guaranteed entry into the room. He wouldn’t even be eligible until December 2024. And he’d only have a chance to be inducted if the Hall’s historical overview committee puts him on the ballot for the classic baseball-era election, which covers players before 1980.

Rose is in the news again because of a letter of apology and request for forgiveness he sent to Manfred earlier this month. It wasn’t the first time he’d expressed such sentiment. And typical of Rose, it didn’t stay private. TMZ published the letter on Friday, saying Rose had sent it to Manfred four days earlier. Crazy things are happening in the news, but it seems unlikely that the commissioner’s office published the letter to TMZ. Rose did not respond to a request for comment.

“Despite my many mistakes, I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished as a baseball player – I’m the Hit King and it’s my dream to be considered for the Hall of Fame,” Rose wrote. in his letter. “Like all of us, I believe in responsibility. I am 81 years old and I know that I have been held responsible and hold myself responsible. I am writing now to ask for another chance.

Sounds reasonable, right? Major League Baseball is now partnering with gambling companies. The same goes for his broadcast partners, including my other employer, Fox Sports. But while the sport’s stance on gambling has softened due to financial advantage, its rules prohibiting players, referees and any club or league official or employee from betting on games have not. not been.

Another problem: Too often, Rose’s words ring hollow. Too often he can’t get out of his own way.

In August, the commissioner’s office allowed Rose to attend Phillies Alumni Weekend and celebrate the 1980 World Series title he helped make possible. It was Rose’s first appearance at a Philadelphia ballpark since being banned more than three decades earlier. The Phillies planned to add him to their Wall of Fame in 2017, but rescinded his induction following allegations that he had sex with an underage girl in the 1970s. A woman said in a court record that she had sex with Rose beginning in 1973, when she was 14 or 15; Rose said his relationship with her began when she was 16, the age of consent in Ohio. (Fox, where I worked with Rose from April 2015 to August 2017, cut ties with him around the same time.) The statute of limitations had expired and Rose was never charged with a crime.

The reunion of Rose and her former teammates should have been a happy occasion. Instead, Rose made it rowdy. When Alex Coffey, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, asked her about the statutory rape allegations, Rose replied, “No, I’m not here to talk about it. Sorry about that. That was 55 years ago, baby. Later he said, “Who cares what happened 50 years ago? He also made an appearance in the Phillies’ TV booth, cursing and making a crude joke about John Kruk’s testicular cancer.

Three months later, Rose wrote her letter to Manfred saying he holds himself accountable. But for Rose, untrustworthy behavior is nothing new. He spent the first 14 years of his ban denying betting on baseball, including in his 1989 autobiography, “Pete Rose: My Story.” He served five months in prison in 1990 for filing false tax returns. A secret meeting in Milwaukee with former commissioner Bud Selig in 2002, in which he admitted to betting on baseball as a first-time manager, also apparently went awry. News of the reunion leaked and Rose quickly followed it up with a sports book appearance in Las Vegas.

Two years later, Rose released a second autobiography, “My Prison Without Bars,” as the Hall of Fame prepared to induct two new members, Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor. Rose said the timing wasn’t her fault. Nothing is ever his fault.

On the day Giamatti announced Rose’s banishment, he said, “The burden of showing a redirected, reconfigured and rehabilitated life falls entirely on Pete Rose.” Rose encountered this burden only sporadically.

Others, too, are in Cooperstown purgatory, but let’s not equate Rose with players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens who allegedly used steroids before the league instituted penalties for such conduct. Rose broke the cardinal rule, one that had long been in the books. Perhaps he could have created a path to reintegration by quietly remaining on the right side of the league. But acting quietly, following a process… that’s not how he rolls.

Manfred, who became commissioner in January 2015, rejected a request to reinstate Rose the following December, saying Rose fell “well short” of meeting the requirements. As far as Manfred knows, he could reinstate Rose and then be subjected to another bomb. Rose admitted to betting on baseball only after his playing career ended. But in June 2015, ESPN obtained copies of betting records from 1986 which provided the first written corroboration that Rose had played games as the Reds’ player-manager. It’s always something.

The Hall of Fame is what Rose wants. Strictly on his accomplishments as a player — the record 4,256 hits, three World Series titles and 17 All-Star Game selections at five different positions — that’s what he deserves, too. But the Hall in 1991 passed a rule prohibiting players on baseball’s ineligible list from being inducted into Cooperstown. Before Rose could even be considered, Manfred would have to take the lead in removing Rose from the ineligible list. Again, induction would not necessarily follow.

The historical overview committee that creates the classic-era ballot is made up of 11 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Perhaps Rose would overtake this group, which would only nominate him for consideration. But would the classic-era committee, a combination of 16 living Hall of Famers, executives, and historians/writers, actually elect him? And if so, would any living members of the Hall of Fame boycott his induction ceremony in protest?

These questions wouldn’t even be relevant until December 2024. If Rose didn’t get elected, she would have to wait another three years for the next Classic Era ballot. He can continue to plead with Manfred, appealing to the public’s sympathy. But Rose, to borrow a term from horse racing, one of her favorite sports, is left behind. His run for Cooperstown remains permanently stalled, and it’s no one’s fault but his own.

(Photo: Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

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