When the Cincinnati Reds host the 2015 All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark next summer, current commissioner Bud Selig will be off the clock — he’s set to retire on January 24. Just because he’s gone, though, doesn’t mean that Bud’s presence won’t be felt, and he announced that himself at a press conference Tuesday in Minnesota. In particular, Selig thrilled the room, and our Riverfront, when he affirmed that exiled Reds’ legend Pete Rose will be allowed to participate in the 2015 festivities, as reported by C. Trent Rosencrans. Could this be a prelude to even bigger news for Rose before Spring Training rolls around again?
Specifically, Selig said that including Rose or not is up the the Reds, and team owner Bob Castellini was enthusiastic in his assurances that Charlie Hustle will, indeed, be on-hand next summer. While Selig has continued to demur when asked about the possibility of a “pardon” for Rose as Bud’s term (finally) ends, the news from this year’s All-Star Game is the most cockle-warming chatter Rose supporters have heard for 25 years.
Technically, Rose will be out of Selig’s hair by next July, but the Hit King will leave a huge impression on the baseball world at the All-Star game, and Bud’s successor would have to deal with the fallout should Rose still be on the banned list. Selig has little reason to leave whoever comes next in such an awkward position, especially when he could just not have said much of anything when asked about Rose and Cincy. The Commissioner has been a master at not saying much of consequence, after all.
I’m reading tealeaves here, of course, but my take is that Selig is, at last, making moves that could help rehab Rose enough in the eyes of the baseball establishment and the public fan base to make reinstatement palatable. If not full reinstatement, then some special arrangement that would crack open the Cooperstown seal and allow Rose to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
When you think of Riverfront sports, isn’t Peter Edward Rose the first player that comes to mind, the image of a filthy Number 14 flying head-first into second base? That’s what I see, and I’m thrilled to hear that Rose will be part of the first Cincinnati All-Star game since the year before he was banished, when the world still loved his hustle.
The only thing more fitting would be a bronze Pete Rose plaque.