The Reds receive permission to honor Pete Rose

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The reason for the honor: the upcoming 25th anniversary of Rose breaking Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record.  Because of the ban, special dispensation was required:

Reds CEO Bob Castellini received the OK to honor Rose from Commissioner Bud Selig.

“The
Reds are celebrating every phase of the 25th anniversary. We approved
the request on a one-time basis,” Major League Baseball spokesman
Patrick Courtney said.

I have no doubt that (a) the game will sell out; and; (b) the crowd will go absolutely nuts with love for Rose. They adore the guy in the Queen City. Which makes me once again question the parameters of Rose’s ban and roll my eyes that the Reds need baseball’s permission to honor Rose like this.

If I were baseball’s philosopher king, I’d still keep Rose banned from holding a substantive position in the game because I don’t think he should be near actual competition. I don’t want him managing. I don’t want him working with young players. I don’t want him doing anything that could even conceivably impact the actual contesting of baseball games.

But the fact that Rose can’t work in promotions or p.r. or charity is kind of a shame. He’s still a huge celebrity in Cincinnati. He could — if properly supervised — do wonders for promoting the Reds. For drumming up interest and support in team charities. He could be a really effective team ambassador if given the chance.

Not that he’s really done anything to earn it, of course. There isn’t a thing he’s done in the past 20 years that cries out for baseball to give him a break.  But it has been a long time, and even if Rose never really learned his lesson out of all of this, there’s a lot of good he could do for the fans and the public. I wouldn’t give him a partial reinstatement for his own sake. I’d do it in spite of him for what I can imagine would be the greater good.  I’d think of it as baseball’s version of community service.

I do wonder, however, if Rose would even take the chance for such a thing if offered. He probably still thinks he should be managing or working in the front office or something, and that’s just not a good idea given his history and addictions.  And he probably would bristle at sensible conditions placed on him such as “hey Pete — if you’re gonna work for the Reds, we can’t have you signing women’s boobs at second-rate casino meet-and-greets, OK?”

Which is what Pete Rose will actually be doing on the actual anniversary of his record-breaking hit this year. The Reds are moving the celebration to the next day — September 12th — to accommodate Charlie Hustle’s hustling career.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.