It seems like the saga has taken another turn for the worse for Pete Rose, and it may be final. After hopes were raised for him with the appointment of a new Commissioner of Baseball, Pete got his hearing, got his due process, and the results ended the same – Pete Rose stays on baseball permanently ineligible list. I have to say I’m not surprised, given his words, actions, and the things that came out over the last year.
Whether Pete Rose ever really got a fair shake from prior Commissioner Bud Selig is debatable. What is not debatable is that he did get a fair opportunity with the new Commissioner Rob Manfred. My friend and fellow BYB writer, Erica Morales, wrote a great piece about it in PETE ROSE WILL GET A FAIR, FULL HEARING last April. My belief then and now is that Pete Rose broke Rule 21, and his being banned from baseball is justified. Still I think that all of us would like to have seen some mercy extended to him, as he has always been a fan favorite. You have to admire Rob Manfred’s position to give him a fair hearing. There was too much controversy about Selig’s approach to the issue, and he created an air of unfairness to Pete. Momentum for Pete’s cause was building until a story broke in June that he had bet on baseball as a player. This was something he adamantly denied for a very long time, and the evidence revealed he had lied about this too.
I think everyone recognizes that people make mistakes, and admission of wrongdoing tends to garner sympathy in cases like these. At the same time, it’s hard to extend that kind of sympathy to a person who repeatedly gets caught lying, only admitting to the truth when he’s caught. It only reinforces the thought that he really doesn’t get it, and maybe never will. It underpins the point that he really did deserve the punishment that was meted out.
To his credit, Rob Manfred went out of his way to be clear as to why he reached a decision that he reached, and to try to be fair. You can read it yourself here on MLB’s News Release. “Because over 26 years have passed …, I requested that my staff conduct a comprehensive review of all materials concerning this case.” Manfred said. What he found surprised me. Pete Rose denied facts that were proven by evidence published by ESPN in June. Even more shocking, he admits that he continues to bet on baseball. It’s hard for me to fathom what goes through his mind. Given everything that he has gone through over the last 30 years as it relates baseball, if I were him and I wanted to be reinstated in baseball, I would stay as far away from betting on the game as I possibly could. I wouldn’t even do fantasy baseball. His behavior just defies logic.
More importantly, it shows to me at least, that he doesn’t comprehend how damaging gambling is to the game of baseball. It’s as if the entire Black Sox scandal is lost on him. That seems to be Manfred’s conclusion as well. In thinking about how to close this article, I decided with these quotes from the Manfred statement, which really captures it.
“Mr. Rose's public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he has caused.”
“In short, Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest
acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established by the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, selfaware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent ineligibility in 1989. Absent such credible evidence, allowing 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.”
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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