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Pete Rose wants back in Baseball

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At age 13, in my youthful exuberance, I remember being in Cooperstown, N.Y., and buying a Pete Rose t-shirt, which has to rank as a high watermark moment of irony. This wasn’t any Rose tee, but rather a customized one that I’m not sure I could get away with wearing in my college years. While it was as white as the clouds that are certain to surround Great American Ball Park in just six weeks, and had “Rose 14” printed in red letters on the back, the emblem on the front is what made it so decisive.

If you’re a Cincinnati Reds fan (and if you’re reading this, I assume you have some level of interest in the club), there is no way to not be biased about the Pete Rose situation. If such a poll existed where fans of each individual club voted on if they believed Pete should find his way into Cooperstown, Reds fans would blow the doors off in the voting majority.

With former Commissioner Bud Selig now out, and new Commissioner Rob Manfred in, Pete, ever the tactician, decided now would be a hell of a time to appeal to the new sheriff in town that he is worthy of the Hall. While Manfred has spoken of quite a few negative aspects to the game already in his tenure (pitch clocks, the potential elimination of defensive shifts, the new bidding process to secure All-Star Games), should he pardon Rose of his sins, he’d really garner a lot of momentum for popularity in Cincinnati—which oh, by the way, is the host of his first ever All-Star Game. I’ll allow you to close your eyes for a moment and let the images of Manfred at GABP this July being wildly cheered after having pardoned the franchise’s most popular player in it’s 146-year history. Pete, with some ridiculous diamond-studded hat on, walks out to the mound, throws out the first pitch, and Reds fans in attendance serenade him with cheers as he’s been welcomed back into the baseball family.

So what was it that my shirt said anyway? Surely I won’t leave you hanging. The number 4,192 was emblazoned right above my heart with a circle around it reading, “Steroid-free, and still not in the Hall of Fame.”

Rose told USA Today Sports that he wants to speak with Manfred. Maybe Pete has determined in his own mind that 25 years has been long enough for him to be away from the game. Maybe Bud Selig’s leniency towards the end of his reign was an indication of things to come for Pete in the immediate future. Maybe Pete just wants his day in the sun. Maybe Pete has his eye on the Reds’ managerial position. Or maybe, he just wants his name cleared once and for all.

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