CINCINNATI — It was nice, it was loud, it was a fine acceptance cheer for Peter Edward Rose, but it wasn’t the mind-blowing, stadium-rattling reception most expected.
As part of the Franchise Four celebration, Rose walked onto the field to join Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Joe Morgan and the crowd responded for about 30 seconds. Most people expected more. And there were a few boos mixed in.
And after the 30 seconds, when he and the other three walked off the field there was no cheer. To be truth, the cheers for Todd Frazier were much louder during his dash and smash to victory in the Home Run Derby.
NEW BASEBALL COMMISSIONER Rob Manfred stood behind a podium Tuesday morning at the Baseball Writers Association of America meeting for a Q and A about the state of baseball.
Or was it about the state of Pete Rose? It seemed that way at first, which was natural in that Manfred was treading on Pete Rose turf, was standing just a few blocks from Pete Rose Way in the Netherland Plaza.
A WRITER REMINDED Manfred that Rose, banned from baseball since 1989 for betting on baseball games, applied for reinstatement in 1997 and it basically sat forever on then commissioner Bud Selig’s desk collecting dust mites. The writer asked, “Is Rose on some kind of double secret probation?”
Even Manfred laughed at that one, but said he would not comment on anything pertaining to Selig’s dealings with Rose and added, “But I can honestly say there is no such thing as double secret probation in baseball,” Just as there is no crying in baseball.
MANFRED, though, did address the Rose issue, as he always does, without digging deeply into specifics. There is a meeting between Manfred and Rose planned for the future, but no timetable is set, no date locked in.
“There is no change in the process,” said Manfred. “The review of the original investigatory material is ongoing. I, frankly, was surprised at how much material there is to be reviewed. We’re taking a fresh look at all of that. Mr. Rose deserves an opportunity to tell me in whatever format he feels most comfortable what he wants me to know about the issues.” Manfred, though, said he won’t be ready to meet Rose and his people until all the vast amount of information Manfred has is digested.
ANOTHER WRITER brought up a point that many fans wonder about — Major League Baseball’s association with DraftKings, a daily fantasy baseball web-site in which fans can win large sums of money. Isn’t that gambling on baseball?
Couldn’t players participate, bet money on themselves or against themselves?
“We have made it absolutely clear to our players and our front offices that we don’t believe DraftKings, or any other daily fantasy leagues, are appropriate. We see a very clear distinction between people who can affect the outcomes of a game (players, managers) and fans who engage in the daily fantasies.”
That doesn’t mean players won’t participate. Just because rule 21(d), promising lifetime banishment if a player bet on games in which he was involved, was posted on the clubhouse door meant that Rose followed it. He didn’t. Not even close.
THERE HAS BEEN some outcry in some quarters that umpires are calling low strikes this year, lower than normal. Joe Torre, the man in charge of the umpires, disputes it without equivocation.
“There is some misconceptions going on so I’ve been in touch with every team to let them know that the low part of the strike zone is no different this year,” said Torre. “There has been absolutely no change last year and this year on low strikes. Some people think we are calling more strikes to speed up the game. That is not the case. The umpire have not gotten together and agreed to do this, that or the other thing. Trust me on that.”
WILL FAST-ADVANCING technology enable MLB to use video to call balls and strikes. Manfred says no“We’re a ways away from the technology to call balls and strikes, he said. “Quite frankly, the strike zone is different for every single guy (hitter). The strike zone has to be adjusted for every single hitter. Those boxes of the strike zone you see on TV are not adjusted and they are not accurate.”
MANFRED ADMITS MLB is concerned about the low attendance for home games in Tampa Bay.
“They put a great product on the field and their attendance is below what we’d like to see,” he said. “Politicians seem committed to getting something down (new stadium) to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg-Tampa. I find that to be encouraging and we will not get to the point of exploring relocation until Rays ownership and I meet in consultation and reach a conclusion that it is not possible to get something done in that market.”