Pete Rose will not be allowed back into baseball, according to a ruling handed down Monday morning by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
So ends a year of will-he-or-won't-he involving the new commish and baseball's embattled Hit King, who was banned from the game in 1989 after admitting he bet on baseball. The question of whether Rose should be back in has divided the sport for years, and Manfred — though he has shown he's open to radical ideas — won't be the man to let Rose back in.The decision isn't all too surprising, especially after Shoeless Joe Jackson was denied reinstatement earlier this year as well. MLB made the Rose news official in a press release that read:
In Manfred's letter explaining the decision, he talked significantly about Rule 21 (which prohibits players and managers from betting on the game). Manfred boiled down the issue to this:"Major League Baseball announced today that it has completed the review regarding Pete Rose’s application for reinstatement from the Ineligible List. Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today informed Mr. Rose, both verbally and in writing, that the application has been denied."
Here, what has been presented to me for consideration falls well short of these requirements. It is not all clear to me that Mr. Rose has a grasp of the scope of his violations of Rule 21. He claims not to remember significant misconduct detailed in the Dowd Report and corroborated by Michael Bertolini’s betting notebook. While Mr. Rose claims that he only bet on Baseball in 1987, the Dowd Report concluded that he also bet on Baseball in 1985 and 1986. Based on the review of the Bertolini Notebook (which shows that Mr. Rose bet on Baseball during the 1986 season), I am convinced that findings set forth in the Dowd Report are credible. Mr. Rose’s public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he caused. As I understand it, Mr. Rose has never seriously sought treatment for either of the two medical conditions described so prominently in his 2004 book and in Dr. Fong’s report. I am also not convinced that he has avoided the type of conduct and associations that originally led to his placement on the permanently ineligible list.
Most important, whatever else a “reconfigured life” may include, in this case, it must begin with a complete rejection of the practices and habits that comprised his violations of Rule 21. During our meeting, Mr. Rose told me that he has continued to bet on horse racing and on professional sports, including Baseball. Those bets may have been permitted by law in the jurisdictions in which they were placed, but this fact does not mean that the bets would be permissible if made by a player or manager subject to Rule 21.
In short, Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him or his wrongdoing, so clearly established by the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent ineligibility in 1989. Absent such credible evidence, allowing him to work in the game presents an unacceptable risk of a future violation by him of Rule 21, and thus to the integrity of our sport. I, therefore, must reject Mr. Rose’s application for reinstatement.
Manfred's explanation also includes the following details that certainly didn't help Rose's case:
• In their interview, Rose initially denied currently betting on baseball. But later changed his story and said that he did currently bet on baseball.
• Rose submitted to a polygraph test (of his own accord) in August. The result was "no opinion." Though Manfred notes there were technical issues that were not Rose's responsibility.
Some fans hoped 2015 could be the year for Rose, with Manfred taking over as commish and giving Rose another chance to appeal for reinstatement. The MLB All-Star game was also in Cincinnati this season, which gave Rose a chance to return to the field and be applauded by Reds fans. He worked for a time as an analyst for Fox Sports as well, offering commentary into the postseason.
However, as Monday's news shows, there weren't enough wins for Rose to get back in baseball's good graces permanently. He was also dinged earlier in the year when new evidence leaked in June saying Rose gambled as a player, something he had previously denied on the record.
So the debate around Rose will continue, same as it ever was: The player with the most hits in baseball history, sitting on the outside looking in while everybody debates his crime and wonders if the punishment is enough already. For this commissioner, in his moment, it was not.