What do you do about Pete Rose?
Discussing that subject around here is almost as toxic as politics or religion...here's a little local perspective from Lance McAlister of 700WLW from his blog
Let's talk about that elephant in the corner of the room. This has been a great week for the Reds, their fans and the city. The All-Star game is coming to town in 2015. I've waited a couple of days do bring this up, so as to not change the feel-good narrative of what the game means to the city. However, there is a significant issue attached to this story: Pete Rose. It's time for MLB to reinstate Rose, as part of a celebration of the All-Star game returning to the home of the first professional baseball team?
You simply can't have the All-Star game shine a spotlight on Cincinnati and the Reds and not have the week include Rose. He played in 17 All-Star games. He was involved in perhaps the most memorable moment (1970) in the history of the game. He is the face of the franchise's history. This franchise, city and fan base has been through a lot: Rose's ban, Marge Schott, nine straight losing seasons, no playoffs from 1996 to 2009. But now, the franchise is on solid ground, poised to be a yearly factor on the playoff scene. There is a pride associated with the franchise that fans haven't felt for years. The fans, city and franchise deserve to have a missing piece returned to them. For nearly 24 years the Reds have followed and respected the wishes of MLB and Bud Selig. They have chosen not to go toe to toe with Selig, over Rose issues. The Reds sat back and accepted not being able to retire Rose's number 14. They have remained silent about not being able to induct him into their own Hall of Fame. They did not push the envelope for Rose to simply be able to speak at GABP, on the anniversary of record breaking hit 4,192. The Reds have earned a lot of credit within MLB, from the Civil Rights Games to the Urban Youth Academy to making the playoffs 2 of last 3 years as a "small" market team. Selig clearly recognizes and appreciates their efforts. He understands the history of the franchise. Now is the time for him to reconnect that history and return Rose to the Reds, the fans and city.
Get reinstatement out of the way. To wait til 2015 and the All-Star game, is to turn the spotlight on Rose, more than the game itself.
All-Star week will include dinners, Q/A sessions, clinics, and endless festivities. Rose should be a part of those activities, selling the event, selling the game, like nobody else can.
The biggest hope in all of this happening is that Bud Selig plans to retire after 2014.
It would be a clean break and lead to a fresh start in the relationship between Rose and MLB. Selig would have upheld the decision of friend, and former commissioner Bart Giamatti to ban Rose. What a first step for the new commissioner. I can see that individual holding a press conference and simply saying, "it's time...Pete, welcome back to this great game."
Will Rose get into the Hall of Fame? I don't know. I'd guess no. But actually put Rose on the ballot for the first time and let the writers decide. Either way, it's time, time to lift the ban. It's been 23 years, 5 months and 1 day since Rose was banned, August 24, 1989. That's 8,555 days. Rose is now 71 years old. He cost himself dearly, with his own actions. He stated, last week on his reality show, he's probably cost himself $60-million with his actions. He paid a huge price. To some, he's became a joke and caricature of himself. To others, he's become a sympathetic figure. Still, others won't be happy til they extract a pound of flesh from Rose. Nobody disputes what Rose did was wrong. He's been punished. He has served a nearly 24 year sentence. It's time for that sentence to be commuted. Do it for the Reds, the fans and the city. Rose being back in baseball does more good for the game than harm
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