It may have been for only one evening, but Pete Rose had the opportunity to manage again. The Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League, an independent league and not under MLB jurisdiction, provided Rose this unique chance.
Two nights ago on June 16, The Hit King took the helm of the Bluefish and led them to a 2-0 victory over Lancaster Barnstormers. Well, I wouldn’t exactly say he led them, but the Bluefish took the W.
Call this what you will – a publicity stunt would immediately come to anyone’s mind, including my own – and Rose was there to make the best of it. This obviously worked as a crowd of 4,573 attended the game held at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, home of the Bluefish. Independent ball clubs have to grab those unique promotions to spark attendance. We’ve seen a some clever ones over the past handful of years.
According to the Bluefish’s website, Rose had a full day of activity. He spoke at a luncheon, attended batting practice, chatted with the players, had a meet-and-greet with fans and held a pair of on-field press conferences.
Of course, any time Rose’s name is mentioned, two things surely follow: the agreed to lifetime ban and the Hall of Fame. They go hand-in-hand. If the ban is ever to be lifted, the Veterans Committee could consider Rose for enshrinement. That first step has been a hard one to overcome.
Rose applied for reinstatement many years ago. He’s still awaiting word from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Selig has served as Commissioner since 1992, about the same time Rose reportedly filed the “paperwork”. If Selig hasn’t considered it now, I highly doubt he will before he leaves office at the beginning of next year. That said, with the 2015 All-Star Game set to take place in Cincinnati, what better way to “lift the ban” than to let Pete enjoy the ASG in his home town.
Rose knows his folly (via Dom Amore of The Hartford Courant):
“I’m the one that screwed up,” he said. “I’m not mad at anybody in baseball. I’m not going around whining about being reinstated. I’m going around talking positive about baseball.”
But this still makes some baseball fans bristle. I know this has been talked about a bajillion times, but it is worth nothing on how Rose first confessed to breaking baseball’s biggest sin. Airing such within a tell-all book, a ploy viewed as a means solely to make some cash, can hardly make anyone look as if they are contrite.
That’s added more to the substantial uphill climb Rose has faced.
Some feel Rose has already served his punishment. There’s a website, Lift the Ban, that has been campaigning for Rose to be reinstated.
Twenty-five years is a long time. We preach forgiveness when it comes to athletes and their behavior. Should those that are willing to extend that forgiveness so willingly do the same for Pete Rose?