Here we go again.
This time, Pete Rose is using the Houston Astros cheating scandal to make his case to be reinstated by baseball and placed on the Hall of Fame ballot.
And once again, nothing is going to change.
Rose’s attorneys sent a petition to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred’s office arguing that since no Astros player was disciplined in the sign-stealing scandal, how can Rose continue to be suspended 30 years later for gambling on baseball?
“There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else,” said Rose’s petition for reinstatement, a copy of which was provided to USA TODAY Sports. “No objective standard or categorization of the rules violations committed by Mr. Rose can distinguish his violations from those that have incurred substantially less severe penalties from Major League Baseball.’’
It’s the second time in five years that Rose has sought reinstatement.
But really, it’s not even about being reinstated to baseball.
Rose, baseball’s all-time hit king, is 78 years old. He’s not going to work in baseball again.
Rose simply wants to be on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, letting the Baseball Writers Association of America decide his fate.
Really, his beef is with the Hall of Fame officers, not MLB.
He received a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 when an investigation by John Dowd showed Rose bet on baseball games, including the Cincinnati Reds, the team he managed. He signed an agreement on Aug. 24, 1989, accepting an indefinite suspension.
Yet, when he signed the agreement, he was unaware the Hall of Fame would pass a rule two years later banning any player on MLB’s ineligible list to be on the Hall of Fame ballot, whether dead or alive.
He has never appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot.
It’s unlikely the voters would elect Rose, considering that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens still have not been elected because of their links to performance-enhancing drugs, but Rose at least want a shot on the ballot.
“Given that the BBWAA voters are the gatekeepers to the Hall for every other baseball player and manager the game has ever seen, including those implicated in the steroid era and those implicated in electronic sign-stealing scandals,’’ his lawyers argue, “it is now time for the voters to be allowed to decide the Pete Rose/Hall of Fame debate. Let the voters vote.”
Besides, times have changed, he argues.
The Astros’ sign-stealing scandal violated the integrity of the game too.
“In recent years, intentional and covert acts by current and past owners, managers, coaches, and players altered the outcomes of numerous games, including the World Series, and illegally enhanced both team and player performance,’’ the petition reads.
“It has never been suggested, let alone established, that any of Mr. Rose’s actions influenced the outcome of any game or the performance of any player. Yet for the thirty-first year and counting, he continues to suffer a punishment vastly disproportionate to those who have done just that.’’
Besides, hasn’t baseball opened its arms to legalized gambling?
“Given the manner in which Major League Baseball has treated and continues to treat other egregious assaults on the integrity of the game,’’ the petition reads, “Mr. Rose’s ongoing punishment is no longer justifiable as a proportional response to his transgressions.’’
So, Rose is giving it another shot.
He tried in 2015 when Manfred denied his application.
He tried again in 2017 with the Hall of Fame officers.
He came up empty each time and this will be no different.
MLB is never going to reinstate him, and the Hall of Fame isn’t about to go against the wishes of the league.
Rose’s name will never appear on the ballot, dead or alive.
Sadly, the man who produced more hits than anyone who ever lived, will be only a footnote in Major League Baseball history.