More than anything, it’s sad.

The average person who hasn’t followed him closely can sympathize with Pete Rose, believing that he has suffered for a long time. That at 81, it’s time for baseball to forgive and forget. Restore. Make it hall of fame worthy.

Except for Rose, it’s not that simple.

Commissioner Rob Manfred bet on baseball in 1989 with the late Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti would be unwise to lift Rose’s lifetime ban. Rose is a wild card that could embarrass Manfred and the sport at any minute. Manfred, a labor lawyer, is not the type to take such a risk. He also should not be.

Even if Manfred is willing to remove the ban, Rose is not guaranteed to enter the hall. It will not be eligible for consideration until December 2024. And he will have the opportunity to promote only if he belongs to the hall. Historical Overview Committee Place him on the ballot for the classic baseball era, which covers players before 1980.

Rose is in the news again because a Apology letter And he sent Manfred an apology earlier this month. It was not the first time They expressed such feelings. And typical of Rose, it didn’t get personal. TMZ published the letter on Friday, saying Rose sent it to Manfred four days ago. Crazy things happen during reporting, but it seems unlikely that the commissioner’s office would release the letter to TMZ. Rose did not respond to a request for comment.

“Despite my many faults, I am proud of what I have accomplished as a baseball player – I am the Hit King and it is my dream to be considered for the Hall of Fame,” Rose wrote in the letter. “Like all of us, I believe there is accountability. I am 81 years old and I know that I am responsible and I will take care of myself. I am writing now to ask for another chance.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Major League Baseball Now partners with gambling companies. So do its broadcast partners, including my other employer, Fox Sports. But as the sport’s stance on gambling softens due to its financial benefits, His rules Players, umpires and club or league officials or staff are not banned from playing in games.

Another problem: Rose’s words often rhyme. Most of the time, he can’t get out of his own way.

In August, the commissioner’s office allowed Rose to participate Phyllis Celebrate Alumni Weekend and the 1980 World Series title he helped make possible. It was Rose’s first appearance in a Philadelphia ballpark since the ban was lifted three decades ago. The Phillies planned to add him to their wall of fame in 2017, but canceled his entry Following the charges In the year He sexually assaulted an underage woman in the 1970s. woman He said in court records that she had sex with Rose from 1973 when she was 14 or 15; Rose said his relationship with her began when she was 16, when he was of legal age in Ohio. (Fox, where I worked with Rose from April 2015 to August 2017; He cut off the relationship with him At the same time.) The statute of limitations had expired, and Rose was never charged with a crime.

The reunion of Rose and his former teammates should have been a joyous occasion. Instead, Rose made a mess of it. Alex Coffey, reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer; he asked him. To the statutory rape allegation, Rose replied, “No, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m sorry for everything. It was 55 years ago, baby. Later, “Who cares what happened 50 years ago?” he said. He also appeared Cursing and joking about John Crook’s testicular cancer in the Phillies TV booth.

Three months later, Rose wrote to Manfred that he would hold himself accountable. But for Rose, impudent behavior is nothing new. He spent the first 14 years of the ban Denying that he bet on baseballIn the year In his 1989 autobiography, “Pete Rose: My Story. In 1990, he was in prison for five months False income tax returns. In the year News of the meeting leaked out, and Rose immediately followed it up with an appearance at a Las Vegas sports book.

Two years later, Rose released a second autobiography, “My Prison Without Bars,” as he prepared to teach two new members, Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor. Rose said the timing wasn’t his fault. It’s never his fault.

On the day Giamatti announced Rose’s ouster, he said, “The burden of showing a changed, reformed, renewed life is entirely on Pete Rose.” Rose rarely found that burden.

Others are in Cooperstown Purgatory, but I don’t want to draw any parallels between Rose and players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens who allegedly used steroids before the league allowed penalties for such behavior. Rose broke a cardinal rule that had been on the books for a long time. Perhaps he could have quietly worked his way back into the good side of the league. But acting wise, following a process… that’s not how it rolls.

Manfred, who became commissioner in January 2015, He refused the request Rose said she fell “well short” of being reinstated the following December meet the requirements. For all Manfred knew, he could restore Rosen and then have another bombardment. Rose only admitted to betting on baseball after his playing career was over. But in June 2015 ESPN has obtained copies Betting records from 1986 provide the first written confirmation that Rose gambled on the games. The red ones Player-manager. It’s always something.

Hall of Fame, that’s what Rose wants. For his accomplishments as a player — a record 4,256 hits, three World Series titles and 17 All-Star Game selections at five different positions — he deserves it. But the hall In 1991, he passed a law prohibiting players from entering Cooperstown on baseball’s ineligible list. Before seeing Rose, Manfred will have to take the lead by removing Rose from the ineligible list. Again, inspiration does not necessarily follow.

The Historical Overview Committee that creates the Classic Era Poll is comprised of 11 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Perhaps Rose has passed that group, which is appointed only for him. But would the Classic Era Committee, a coalition of 16 living Hall of Famers, executives and historians/writers, really vote for him? And if it did, would the Hall of Famers have resisted the marching ceremony?

Those questions won’t be relevant until December 2024. If Rose is not elected, he will have to wait another three years for the next Classic Era vote. He can continue to appeal to Manfred, asking for public sympathy. But Rose, to borrow a word from horse racing, one of his favorite sports, remains at the door. The race to Cooperstown has stalled permanently, and it’s no one’s fault but his own.

(Photo: Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

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