Sports Illustrated is re-igniting the ongoing saga of Pete Rose’s ragged association with baseball in a cover story appropriately entitled, “The Dilemma."
Excerpts from a soon to be published book of the same title will layer new evidence for and against his restoration to Major League Baseball’s good graces. It was 25 years ago that Rose accepted a lifetime banishment for gambling related associations and allegations. He has since confessed to betting on baseball, cementing for some the sentiment that the ban should stand.
As I’ve said many times over the years, Rose, a non-drinker and non-smoker, got hooked on the one thing that could get him banned from the game he loved. As for the depths of his compulsion? Try this one on for size as we enter one of Rose's favorite months of the year and not because March engenders the start of baseball but rather the madness that is the NCAA college basketball tournament.
While the exact dates remain murky, the impressions are as clear and indelible as they were when the episode unfolded in Tampa, Fla. in 1987. Long before the advent of cell phones, we used whatever resources we could to facilitate our coverage of spring training. I was on assignment for Channel 9 Sports and was in the process of calling the TV station from a pay phone in the Reds clubhouse at Al Lopez Field. This was to be their last season in Tampa where they’d trained since 1946 before moving to Plant City.
The one constant was Rose’s fascination with the basketball tournament. And during that call, I realized the scope of his gambling disorder.
WCPO Insiders can read Janson's full accounting of that March day 27 years ago.