Some breaking news came out about Pete Rose, and it might spell trouble for his reinstatement bid. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported that they have uncovered evidence showing that Pete Rose bet on baseball when he was a player in 1986. Up until now, he had adamantly maintained that he never bet on games when he was a player, only when he was a manager. Now the evidence shows that he lied about that too.
As we reported last month in THINGS COMING UP ROSES FOR PETE ROSE, it seemed like he was on his way back to baseball. The new Commissioner of Baseball Robert Manfred had said that Pete deserves a hearing, and the process was underway. Of course, with nothing guaranteed, we assumed that there would be serious restrictions and conditions on his return, and we expect that is still the case. The assumption was always that he would have to be honest and forthcoming about what he did, and that would be just for starters. This latest set of revelations certainly casts doubt on his honesty regarding statements he made over the last 26 years. John Dowd, who authored the report that documented the results of baseball’s investigation into his gambling, was quick to provide a quote: “This does it. This closes the door.” Perhaps he feels vindicated. I am not so sure he has good reason to have such bravado.
The fact is that we know nothing about discussions that took place between Pete Rose’s people and the Commissioner’s Office. Again, we expect that he will have to be honest and forthright about what he did. If Rose already planned to share this and discussed this in confidence, the revelation would change nothing. Furthermore, this makes no difference in his culpability and deservedness of his ban from baseball. As we stated in PETE ROSE BELONGS ON THE INELIGIBLE LIST, it doesn’t matter if he bet as a manager or as a player. He had a “duty to perform”, and that settled it. In a sense, this is another action on a long list of actions, any one of which would put you on the permanently ineligible list.
While many of his detractors, like John Dowd, will seize on this to say that this settles the issue and he should go away, Pete may still have a chance for reinstatement. Still, this does not help his image of contrition. It certainly does not say that he can be trusted to tell the whole truth. Whatever he decides, it is in the hands of Commissioner Manfred now. I always liked Pete when he was a player, but this is about the integrity of the game. Whatever the Commissioner does, his job is to make sure that any deal they agree to is in the best interests of baseball. It should make for an interesting hearing.