Pete Rose’s Baseball Comeback: One Time Stunt Or Sign Of Things To Come?

Pete Rose returned to baseball last night, managing the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent Atlantic League team. Rose, whose lifetime ban from baseball came about because of a gambling scandal, made jokes about Donald Sterling’s recent ban from the NBA. He also talked about the possibility of Bud Selig pardoning him before his retirement in January. He did not seem to be kidding.

NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk reported on the development, with Craig Calcaterra weighing in:

“I used to laugh at this sort of thing, as baseball has never shown any intention of reinstating Rose. But part of me is starting to wonder if Selig won’t issue a pardon as he leaves office. For a couple of reasons. First, to keep the Rose issue from being one that bothers his successor every couple of years. Second, and more importantly, for legacy reasons.”

Darren Rovell at is more reserved in his judgment. Still, he does not rule out the idea of a Pete Rose return. In an article that covers the breadth and scope of Rose’s continued involvement with the sport and its fans, he winds up reporting this:

“Rose heads up to Cooperstown for every Hall of Fame induction weekend to sign autographs and has seen the attendance decline as baseball’s performance-enhancing drug era has kept those with the most promising stats out of the building. He hopes even that could provide him with a chance to get in.

“‘It doesn’t look like guys like [Barry] Bonds and [Roger] Clemens are ever going to make it in,’ said Rose. ‘That can’t be good for the business of the Hall of Fame.'”

It’s a telling end for an otherwise balanced article that focuses mostly on Pete Rose’s investment in a budding fantasy league and his job selling autographs at a Las Vegas store.

Kevin Duffy, writing for, is more reserved. In an article that is far more focused on what Rose’s presence means for the Bridgeport team’s poor attendance numbers, he finds room to provide quotes and context missing from the more hopeful coverage of Pete Rose’s return. Duffy quotes Rose as saying:

“The ban is going to outlive me. I wish I could be 113 (years old) applying for reinstatement, but I’m going to tell you again, I’m the one who screwed up. I’m not the one whining about being reinstated, you guys brought that up. If I’m reinstated, I won’t need a third chance. Believe me. I won’t need a third chance.”

Bob Nightengale of USA Today is not hopeful. On top of his dismissal of Rose, who Nightengale calls “delusional,” he raises the very valid point that Pete Rose’s involvement with sports memorabilia, his constant presence at Cooperstown during Baseball Hall of Fame inductions, and his investment in a fantasy gaming company are likely to count against him in any appeal for clemency from the retiring commissioner.

Inquisitr first covered the announcement of Rose’s one-night gig last week, recapping the banned legend’s career and reporting on his statements about the one-time promotional event. Pete Rose’s remarks at the time did not mention reinstatement, nor did they point to his having a long-term strategy for overturning the ban.

Despite all the hoopla, the event did appear to be a success. Attendance swelled for the promotion, the fans were welcoming, and the Bluefish won 2-0. Whether one views Pete Rose as a savvy businessman running a self-promotion scheme or as a desperate-but-committed veteran who “bleeds baseball,” the truth is that a lot of fans still love him. That’s not likely to change.

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