UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from room 5328 at Good Samaritan Hospital where I had my gallbladder removed after a sudden and extremely painful attack Monday morning.
After carotid artery surgery, eye surgery and now gallbladder surgery in the last two months I, like the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Reds, can’t wait for 2016 to be over.
PETE ROSE, wearing a white Cincinnati Reds cap and a plaid shirt with ‘Hit King’ on the collar, said a telling thing during his press conference on Las Vegas Blvd. Tuesday afternoon.
“I just want to be a friend of baseball. I don’t want to be an outsider looking in,” he said.
AND THAT’S WHAT he remains, after baseball commissioner Rob Manfred turned down Rose’s petition for re-instatement on Monday.
He will forever be a friend of baseball because, as he said, “It’s all I know, baseball and my family are my first loves.”
When he concentrates on baseball, there is no better ambassador for the game. He breathes, lives and sleeps baseball. Always has, alwys will.
But he is going to be forever on the outside looking in. He won’t be re-instated in his lifetime, if ever, no matter what he does.
ROSE TALKED A LOT about what he is doing with his life helping kids, talking to ballplayers, participating in charities and visiting hospitals. But it is what he did in the past that will live forever.
As he said it, “I have been my own worst enemy. But I’ve learned from my mistakes and my suspension.”
Rose says he has reconfigured his life, but he was his own worst enemy by continuing to gamble. He calls it recreational gambling, just for fun and enjoyment, but why would he bet on baseball?
Baseball wanted him to reconfigure his life and that certainly meant no gambling, legally, recreationally or even office pools. And even it if is legal in Las Vegas, betting on baseball legally sent the wrong message to commissioner Manfred. If Roe were re-instated and hired as a manager or coatch or advisor, Manfred fears he would continue his recreational gambling, including baseball.
ROSE WAS ASKED WHY he continues gambling after he was suspended for life and said, “Good question. You have to understand this and why don’t they understand this? Why did you continue to gamble? That’s the way I get my enjoyment. I’m not a stock markert guy. I’m not a Draft Kings guy or on-line guy. If I want to be on football and go home and watch it, that’s my enjoyment. You are probably right. I shouldn’t have done that, but I have to live my life. Everything I do is legal and I am in control of myself.”
Rose did show more contrition during this press conference than he has in the past, but obviously did not convince Manfred.
“I won’t sit here on Las Vegas Blvd. and complain, because I’m the one who screwed up,” he said. “I’m the one who made the mistakes. And IO can only hope I can help people from making the same mistakes that I made in the game of baseball. If I could change the life I’ve lived, I’d change. But that’s just the way it is. You can’t rewrite what already has been lived. You just have to try to be a better person.”
AND ROSE IS a good person these days and he says, “I’m a good guy, to be honest with you. Unlike 30 years ago, when I was out of control as a gambler. I don’t live in Las Vegas because I’m a gambler. I live here because it is where I work. This town is the only town where my job works (selling autographs and memorabilia). If I want to make small bet, and I don’t bet every day. . .”
As he talked about his recreational gambling, one his handlers sitting on the dais with him said, “Pete shut up while you are ahead.” So telling.
But he continued.
“No more behind the scenes stuff (gambling illegally with bookies) and I’m very selective about the people I associate with,” he said. “That’s another reason I got into trouble back in the 70’s, or 80s, I should say.”
TRYING TO WRAP it up, Rose said, “In a nutshell, and I told Mr. Manfred this, all I look forward to is that same day to be a friend of baseball. I want Pete Rose and baseball to be friends. That’s all I want, so I can say I’m not an outsider looking in.”
That, though, is what is going to happen. Rob Manfred made that extremely clear.
STILL TIME TO acquire a copy, or copies, of ‘The Real McCoy,’ my memoirs, in time for Christmas. I even have some book at home to sell for $22 each