Rob Manfred: Pete Rose Not a Top Priority


It’s January 25, exactly one month since Christmas, and Cincinnati Reds baseball fans have been given a shiny gift:  a new commissioner.  As Bud Selig retires and Rob Manfred picks up the MLB leadership today, Reds’ great Pete Rose may finally be able to get some traction in his bid for reinstatement.  That won’t happen in the short term, though, as Manfred told’s Jerry Crasnick that he is not even fully “conversant” on the Rose situation at this point:  

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"It’s always been a commissioner-only issue. I understand I have to get completely conversant and deal with whatever request comes my way from Mr. Rose. I’m just not at a point in time where I can say anything intelligent about it. I do, however, recognize that it’s an issue."

Instead, Manfred listed his top immediate priorities:

  • Youth outreach
  • Technology
  • Pace of play
  • Player relations
  • Unified business operation

Those are reasonable areas of focus, but the truth is that Selig has left Manfred with a game largely devoid of huge issues, other than a general feeling of ho-hum amongst many fans.  The proliferation of monster pitching performances after the death of the so-called “steroid era” has left many followers somewhat bored and looking for something to sink their teeth into.

By pushing Rose to the back burner, Manfred is missing out on a golden opportunity to score an immediate public relations coup, and it would be easy to do.  After more than a quarter century, and with so many superstars from the intervening years wearing the taint of PED use, most of the outrage regarding Rose’s betting scandal has deflated like a Tom Brady football.

If Manfred were to act quickly to reinstate Rose, the move would generate all kinds of positive buzz and help the new commissioner to put his stamp on the sport as someone who is willing to break out of the box of tradition in order to move forward. It would also move the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati to the front of the line in terms of must-see sporting events this summer.  Rose is already expected to be on hand, but if he were reinstated, the game would be his “welcome back” party.

Bringing Rose back into the fold now would also set him up to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, potentially in time for the 2016 election.  That just happens to be the first year the Ken Griffey, Jr., will appear on the ballot, too, which means we could see two Cincinnati sons elected to Cooperstown at the same time.

For all these reasons and more, Manfred would be well served to examine Pete Rose’s case sooner rather than later.  There would be no better way for Manfred to start his tenure.

Next: Pete Rose Still Waiting 11 Years After He Admitted to Betting on Baseball