Rose hopes to meet commissioner, open to ‘almost anything’
CINCINNATI (AP) Hits king Pete Rose said he’s ”open to almost anything” that Commissioner Rob Manfred might have in mind when they discuss his lifetime ban for betting on baseball.
The former Cincinnati Reds player and manager hopes that he can informally meet Manfred – who took over for Bud Selig in January – when the two are in town next week for the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park. Rose said they’ll meet again at some point later on to discuss his longstanding application for reinstatement.
Rose, who is now an analyst for Fox Sports, said on a conference call Thursday that he’s elated to have a chance to plead his case with Manfred.
”When you’re in my situation, you’re open to almost anything,” Rose said. ”I’m just happy he’s going to review my status, and we’ll go from there.”
Rose was banned in 1989, four years after he set baseball’s hits record. After denying for years that he bet on baseball, he acknowledged doing so in his most recent autobiography in 2004. The 74-year-old Rose isn’t eligible to be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Selig didn’t act upon Rose’s petition for reinstatement before retiring. Rose said he’s uncertain what to expect from the new commissioner.
”I don’t know if I have a better chance or not,” he said. ”When you say better chance – just having him review my status, I’m happy with. I’m looking forward to sitting down one-on-one with Mr. Manfred and discussing the situation, I really am.”
Manfred has given Rose permission to go on the field before the All-Star Game on Tuesday to be honored as part of Major League Baseball’s Franchise Four promotion. Fans got to choose four players to represent each team.
Rose was chosen along with Reds Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin. He’s unsure what’s involved in the on-field ceremonies.
”Baseball has not told me as of yet,” Rose said. ”Just to be able to come out from behind home plate onto the field will be a big honor for me.”
Rose attends several Reds games in his hometown each season, sitting in the stands. He’s gone on the field at Great American one time, wearing a No. 14 Rose jersey as he stomped on first base on Sept. 11, 2010, the 25th anniversary of his record-setting hit No. 4,192. Selig gave permission for that on-field appearance.
Rose is part of Fox’s broadcasting team for the All-Star Game. It’ll be the first All-Star Game he’s attended since his lifetime ban.
”Charlie Hustle” scored the winning run by bowling over Indians catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game at Riverfront Stadium. Both got into the game in the later innings. Rose’s run in the 12th inning gave the National League a 5-4 win.
Baseball has tried to eliminate home plate collisions, so there probably won’t be a repeat of the 1970 finish.
The All-Star Game also has become more about trying to get as many players onto the field as possible, something that Rose thinks detracts from the competitive nature of the game.
He noted that Carl Yastrzemski batted six times during the 1970 game, getting four hits. Now, there are frequent substitutions with the expanded rosters, limiting players to a few innings.
Last year, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter doubled and scored in his final All-Star Game, playing only three innings before being replaced.
”I look at it this way: People are voting for the players they want to see,” Rose said. ”I didn’t want to see Jeter take one or two at-bats. I wanted to see Jeter play the whole game, knowing it’s his last All-Star Game. There’s a reason why guys make the starting lineups, why they get the most votes.
”I’d want to see the star players at least into the sixth or seventh inning,” he said.
Later on Thursday, Rose helped coach the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League. The team gave away 1,000 Rose bobbleheads and auctioned off game-used bases autographed by Rose.
Asked if he thinks most fans want him in the Hall of Fame, Rose said, ”Most who are around baseball have a tendency to know how hard it is to hit a baseball. I hit more than anybody else.
”One thing I never did was cheat the fans,” Rose said.
Associated Press writer David Mercer in Normal, Illinois, contributed to this report.
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