Baseball's all-time hits king, long-time Cincinnati Red and short-time Philadelphia Phillie Pete Rose, the man with 4,256 career hits, has been denied reinstatement by Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred.
The two sides met last September to discuss Rose's reinstatement, and it was his own words and actions in that meeting that doomed him once again. In a statement released Monday, Manfred indicated Rose was still doing all the things that got him banned the first time, even as he applied for reinstatement a third time.
"He made assertions concerning his betting habits that were directly contradicted by documentary evidence. ... And, significantly, he told me that currently he bets recreationally and legally on horses and sports, including Baseball," Manfred wrote.
In a footnote, the decision adds: "Even more troubling, in our interview, Rose initially denied betting on Baseball currently and only later in the interview did he 'clarify' his response to admit such betting."
Yes, that's right. After he initially lied and said he was not currently betting on sports and baseball, he then fessed up and admitted he does still bet on sports and baseball.
This is 18 different kinds of dumb. And it's sad.
Here is a man who, it was learned Monday, also bet on games as a player in 1986. A man, who denied for decades that he didn't bet on baseball, despite accepting a lifetime ban and overwhelming evidence that he did. A man who only admitted to betting on baseball in an autobiography in 2004.
But one thing has become crystal clear. Pete Rose is a man who simply cannot help himself.
This is a man with a gambling addiction. Even with the stakes as high as they were, and his first real chance to get back into baseball, he couldn't stop himself. And after lying for decades about his gambling, he lied once again to Manfred in their meeting, even if it was only for a matter of minutes or hours.
Understandably, baseball cannot allow a man like this anywhere near their game.
Is his crime any better or worse than the PED users who drew such negative light to the sport in the late 1990s and 2000s? Does it matter that PED users cheated in order to play better, while there will always be a question whether or not Rose ever bet on his team to lose baseball games?
As has been mentioned in other places, both are bad. When a player uses a performance enhancing drug, he can change the outcome of the game by his play alone. And every other player has the opportunity to do the same thing, as was plainly seen during the steroid era.
But gambling is different, in that a single player not playing on the up-and-up can have a catastrophic effect on the game. One player, or manager, with enough reason to throw a game, can do that. And if fans can't believe what they're watching is "on the level," then that game dies.
That's why, ever since the Black Sox scandal almost destroyed the credibility of the game, gambling has become the one, true cardinal sin. I just so happens that, aside from self-delusion and lying, gambling is Rose's most uncontrollable vice.
So, this is it. There will be no more chances. Pete Rose is done. He will not be employed by any baseball team in any official capacity for the rest of his life. All that's left is for him to awkwardly poke his head into another TV analyst's camera shot and offer rambling, incoherent analysis.
But what about the Hall of Fame? After Manfred's announcement, the Hall released the following statement:
"Pete Rose remains ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration, based on the Hall of Fame's bylaws, which preclude any individual on baseball's ineligible list from being considered a candidate for election."
Amazingly, the MLB Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to the greatest players to have ever stepped on a diamond, will continue not have plaques or busts of their all-time hits leader (Rose), all-time home run king (Barry Bonds) or Cy Young winner (Roger Clemens).
Despite their foibles, the most esteemed baseball museum in the world should have mention of these players, as well as others who have been ostracized from the game because they broke the rules. Writers should be given the opportunity to vote their conscience on Rose and if so, his whole story should be told.
Include all of their sins on their plaques. Explain their history. Describe their shame. Talk about what they did wrong, how it sullied the game. Let Rose have his speech at Cooperstown, because all the wrong he did will be mentioned right along with it.
But keeping them out, or in Rose's case preventing the writers from voting on it, is wrong.
But this isn't going to change. It's all over for Pete. It's done. There will be no Hall of Fame. There will be no reinstatement. There will be no front office jobs, or coaching jobs, or consulting jobs.
Pete Rose will forever be a baseball outsider, all because he couldn't help himself.