President Donald Trump waded into a fight that has largely stayed inside the sports world on Saturday afternoon. Sending out a tweet – the President’s most popular form of communicating with the masses – he lent his support to Pete Rose’s renewed efforts to be reinstated by Major League Baseball.
“Pete Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin). He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price.”
The President finished with an all caps request to allow Rose into the Hall of Fame and punctuated it with a comment that it was time to do it. Rose has been carrying out a campaign to be allowed into the MLB Hall of Fame for decades but there’s been a new push since the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing controversy came to light.
The former Cincinnati Reds player and manager has been suspended from baseball for life for gambling. Rose has long claimed he only bet on his own team’s games – the point Trump pointed to in his tweet – and for that reason, he feels he’s been shunned long enough.
Rose’s stance these days has to do with Houston players cheating in a way that got the team’s manager and general manager suspended for a year, while none of the players paid any direct price. He filed a new application to be allowed into the Hall of Fame, pointing to their second chances.
The tweet about Pete Rose wasn’t President Trump’s only foray into the sports world on Saturday. He also lent his support to former Indiana Hoosiers’ basketball coach Bobby Knight.
Knight and his former school had a much-publicized reunion over the weekend after a bitter split over the way he ran his team when he was still the head coach.
Trump retweeted a post showing Knight walking into the basketball team’s arena in front of a cheering crowd. The President added a caption calling Knight a “terrific guy” and pointing out the former Hoosiers’ coach gave then-candidate Donald Trump a very public endorsement in Indiana during the 2016 campaign.
A great coach and a fantastic guy. His endorsement of me in Indiana was a very big deal! https://t.co/PBqvDaamoO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
As is usually the case, President Trump’s tweets about Pete Rose and Bobby Knight were met with partisan rancor rather than a discussion about the issue of reinstatement or the reunion in Indiana. Some followers personally attacked the President for his political policies and his appearance. Others cheered Trump on as the “greatest president ever,” with neither side taking much notice of the topics at hand.