Question of the day: Is Bud Selig softening his stance on Pete Rose? [Updated]
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is allowing the Cincinnati Reds to honor Pete Rose on Sunday. Tribune Co. writers offer their insights on Selig's decision.
Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times
[Updated at 12:12 p.m.: Rose’s Sunday appearance at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati will certainly evoke raucous cheering and serve as a moving moment for baseball’s all-time hit king, but his third MLB-allowed public outing shouldn’t be viewed as a thawing of Selig’s stance on the lifetime ban.
Baseball officials have been as blunt to say the ship has sailed in regard to denying Rose reinstatement from the 1989 ban connected to a probe that found he gambled on the Reds while managing them. Rose did himself no favors by denying his gambling for years, only to come clean in a cash-making book.
The 69-year-old Rose, interviewed by The Times Wednesday, said he now fully understands the gravity of being “hard-headed” in his past denial, and said he’s appreciative that Selig has given his blessing for Sunday’s event.
That’s significant. Rose was told by Bart Giamatti, the commissioner who banned him, to “reconfigure” his life. Should he continue to prove he has, baseball – even if it’s in a post-Selig era – should reconsider its penalty and reinstate “Charlie Hustle,” who built his legend in the pre-steroid era.]
Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel
[Updated at 11:24 a.m.: Selig may not have any interest in reinstating Rose, but he doesn’t want to wipe him off the sport’s annals either.
Rose is a Cincinnati icon and owner of one of the game’s cherished records. Selig giving the Reds his blessing to mark the 25th anniversary of Rose passing Ty Cobb on the all-time hits list isn’t indicative of a philosophical shift. Was he softening in 2007 when he allowed the Reds Hall of Fame to display a 2,000-square-foot exhibit on Rose’s playing career?
Selig can keep Rose out of Cooperstown and from working in the game he loves. Some like former Commissioner Fay Vincent disagree, but Selig is being sensible in not denying fans opportunities to remember the positive aspect of Rose’s legacy.]
Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun
[Updated at 10:23 a.m.: Every time Selig allows Rose to show up at a ballpark for some nostalgic promotion, the conversation starts anew about the possibility that Rose's lifetime ban will be lifted and he will become eligible for the Hall of Fame. And every time, so far, there has been no real change in Selig's stubborn adherence to the decision made by late commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989.
Speculate away, but I have always believed that Selig feels a duty to the memory of Giamatti to keep the ban in place and, really, what has Rose done over the past 21 years that would make anyone want to forgive and forget? He stubbornly denied gambling on baseball for many years, then finally made a for-profit confession in his book "My Prison Without Bars."
Selig again seems to be taking the middle ground. He doesn't want to blot Rose completely out of the history of the game, but he is in no hurry to let him all the way back in either.]
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Rose returns to the diamond in Cincinnati on Sunday. Selig has given the Reds permission to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hit King’s breaking Cobb’s all-time hits record.
This will generate lots of headlines and walk-up sales in Cincinnati, where attendance is up but not quite as much as one would expect given a first-place team loaded with young, exciting players. Rose backers hope it’s a sign that Selig’s rethinking his opposition to allowing him to be considered for the Hall of Fame, but I don’t see it that way.
From here, it seems more a tip of the cap from Selig to Reds owner Bob Castellini than to Rose himself. There’s going to be no happy ending between Selig and Rose before the commissioner retires, most likely after the 2012 season.
Selig and others in the MLB establishment believe a Rose double-cross triggered Giamatti’s fatal heart attack. To them, his arrogance and galling levels of chutzpah are the unforgivable crime. Nothing’s changing that.
Photo: Former Dodgers great Steve Garvey, left, and all-time hits leader Pete Rose throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Steve Garvey's Celebrity Softball Game for ALS Research on July 10 in Malibu. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press