It’s been over 30 years since Pete Rose was banned from baseball. It’s time to bring him back into the fold.
Rose was permanently banned in 1989 because of allegations that he bet on games while he was playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds.
Baseball’s all-time hits leader has petitioned for reinstatement several times since then. Various MLB commissioners have either denied or ignored all of his requests.
But, hey, if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Rose and his lawyers are doing exactly that.
Their new attempt comes in the wake of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
The league didn’t punish any of the players involved in the scandal. The managers that took part only received a year-long ban.
Rose’s camp is arguing that the MLB is inconsistent with how it punishes offenders because of that leniency.
Although Hoosiers couldn’t legally bet on baseball while Rose was playing, his Reds teams created plenty of Cincinnati fans throughout Indiana. 2020 will be the first full MLB season that Indiana residents will be able to wager on.
Why Commissioner Manfred should end Rose’s ban
Rose has paid the price for his crimes, he’s done the time. Now MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has another chance to right the ship.
Rose expected to continue working in baseball. That could have been as a manager or even as an executive for a team.
Being blacklisted from the sport ended that possibility. Even a potential job as a hitting coach became out of the question. He’s missed out on the opportunity for an entire second career in baseball after his playing days, and that should be punishment enough.
Now that he’s 78, ending Rose’s ban is now more about his Hall of Fame eligibility than it is about working in baseball. Rose can’t be inducted while his ban is still active.
Other rule-breakers such as Barry Bonds have also had trouble making their way to Cooperstown.
Bonds didn’t receive a lifetime ban for his infractions, and his use of performance-enhancing drugs actually changed the outcome of games.
The league even reversed the lifetime ban of PED user Jenrry Mejia. Rose hasn’t received the same forgiveness.
Although the league may suspect it, there’s no proof that Rose actually bet against the Reds. Yes, he still broke the rules, but as far as we know he wasn’t actively throwing games to win his bets.
Unfortunately for Rose, “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply if you work in baseball. Regardless, it’s time to forgive Rose for the mistakes that he did make.
Why wouldn’t the MLB reinstate Rose?
The way that Rose has handled the situation over the years hasn’t sat well with the MLB.
Manfred’s decision to deny Rose’s 2015 petition for reinstatement was largely because he felt like Rose had not “reconfigured his life.”
In other words, Manford wasn’t happy that Rose was still placing legal wagers on MLB games in Las Vegas. Rose still lives in Las Vegas and bets on games today.
That may end up being a deciding factor yet again for his new decision.
But the world is a different place than it was in 1989 and 2015.
Sports betting is legal across the United States now, thanks to the Supreme Court. Even Ohio, where the Reds are from, is trying to implement sports betting throughout the state.
Rose’s punishment shouldn’t continue just because he still bets on sports. He’s placing his wagers in a legal way, just like thousands of other bettors around the country.
Manfred’s concerns about how lifting the ban could jeopardize the integrity of the game are no longer valid.
It’s time to cement the legacy of one of baseball’s all-time greats. As a key part of the Big Red Machine and as a two-time World Series winner, Pete Rose deserves his shot at the Hall of Fame.
Hopefully Commissioner Manfred will open that door for him by finally reversing course.