I sat at my desk today watching Pete Rose’s press conference. It was a day after he was denied by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement. It was not a surprise that the commissioner came to that decision. But after watching Rose speak, I am very unsure how I feel about his case.
Prior to all this, I had been an advocate for Rose being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Of course with his ban, he was not eligible. Even though Manfred clarified that MLB’s ruling is separate on what the Hall of Fame should rule, I still believed that Rose should be in the Hall solely for his accomplishments as a player.
But his gambling hurt the game. He still continues to gamble today. It was wrong then. But he does it legally now. The longer this issue lingered, the more I wondered if he should get in.
Rose spoke today about wanting to be “friends” with baseball again. He didn’t so much argue with Manfred’s decision, rather he was trying to see if there was any chance of making an ugly situation right again. He hasn’t done well in that category and some of the comments he’s made over the years don’t seem to help the cause.
He sat there in Las Vegas (of course) on a throne that adorned his nickname “Hit King.” That name was also seen on his collar of his shirt. That just doesn’t feel like a situation to show remorse. It just feels like a reminder to everyone that they’re making a mistake.
Yet during his press conference, I can hear him not fighting back. Rather he seems to understand his fate and was just hopeful that we don’t judge him like we once did. He wasn’t for a chance at the Hall of Fame. He just wanted to be welcomed back.
And that’s what his message of wanting to be a “friend” to baseball was all about. Maybe he’s letting go of the dream of being in the Hall. He probably has accepted that fact that he won’t get that chance while he’s alive. He just doesn’t want to be a villain anymore.
It’s so hard to believe Rose. He says the right things but does all the wrong things. Does he believe in the words he says or is he just so far deep in that he can’t get out?
That’s probably what Manfred is feeling too. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t ready yet to make that ultimate decision regarding the Hall of Fame. And that’s how I feel as well now.