Fay: Rose decision not surprising, but sad all the same

What Manfred's ruling means for Rose's future

CINCINNATI -- Commissioner Rob Manfred's decision not to lift Pete Rose's lifetime ban is not surprising. Probably not even to Rose himself.

Once Manfred denied the posthumous re-instatement of Shoeless Joe Jackson, it was a near lock that the commissioner was not going to let Rose back in.

I thought Manfred might let Rose back in -- even if in some limited way. Nonetheless, I think Manfred’s decision was a bad one for a several reasons.

  • As long as he’s taking checks from DraftKings, Manfred’s hardcore stance to keep a gambler out looks hypocritical. Daily fantasy sites are gambling pure and simple. The fact that it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not gambling. 
  • Rose has screwed up a lot. Betting on baseball was the Cardinal Sin; lying about it for all those years only compounded things. He hangs around with shady characters. He makes a living at a casino. And he’s thumbed his nose at baseball by signing in Cooperstown on Hall of Fame weekend. All that said, he’s paid dearly for what he’s done. He’s been out of the game 26 years -- that’s enough.
  • Rose is great for baseball: No one is better at promoting the game than the Hit King. I could listen to him talk about baseball all day. He has an endless number of stories, and his genuine love of the game comes through in all of them.

That said, the ruling will not change much.

Reinstated or not, Rose was not getting into the National Hall of Fame under the current rules.

Remember, the Hall is an organization separate from baseball. Therefore, Manfred could not put Rose in the Hall as some might suggest. Rose would have to be voted in by the Veterans Committee.

Nonetheless, getting 75 percent of the veterans' votes would be close to impossible for Pete under current circumstances.

It’s also unlikely that any team would hire Rose in any more than advisory position at this point.

But the biggest impact of Manfred’s ruling is it will keep the Reds from erecting a statue, retiring No. 14, and putting Rose in the club’s Hall of Fame.

Rose will presumably still be allowed to appear at games and team ceremonies. The Reds have been allowed to do pretty much anything they want with Rose in recent years. Major League Baseball, in fact, has never turned down a Reds’ request to have Rose at a function.

“Even back with Bud (Selig), we were never told no,” chief operating officer Phil Castellini said at Redsfest. “We honored the anniversary of 4,192. We had the Big Reds Machine stuff, statue dedications. Every time we asked to do something, we were given permission.”

My guess is Reds will continue to do that; I can see Rose being part of the anniversary of 1976 World Championship team this summer. 

But it’s still sad that Pete Rose will likely never be more a part of baseball and the Reds than that.

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