pete rose getty

Pete Rose will be allowed to participate in All-Star Game festivities


Pete Rose remains banned from baseball, but he has been given the equivalent of a weekend furlough from the penitentiary: Commissioner Rob Manfred said today that Rose will be allowed to participate in activities surrounding this summer’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Rose, a Reds legend, native and resident of Cincinnati, remains immensely popular in Cincinnati and his inclusion in activities around the All-Star Game seemed inevitable. Indeed, many suspect that Rose will soon be reinstated by Commissioner Manfred, who recently agreed to consider Rose’s appeals anew. Rose was also recently hired for a commentator’s position at Fox Sports, which is a rights holder for Major League Baseball broadcasts. The league reportedly was consulted on the Fox hire, though Manfred has denied that Major League Baseball had any “input” in the decision.

The last time Rose was offered some sort of special dispensation by Major League Baseball was in 2013, when took part in a Reds ceremony honoring the 1975 and 1976 “Big Red Machine” championship teams. He was also back in 2010, when he was allowed to participate in a ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of his breaking of Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record. Before that, Rose was allowed on the field in 1999 as part of a celebration of his inclusion on the All-Century Team.

This bit of leave from his exile, however, coming in one of Major League Baseball’s “Jewel Events” will likely be far more significant than those appearances. And could possibly be the harbinger of Rose’s permanent reinstatement to baseball.

Pete Rose joins FOX as a baseball analyst

pete rose getty

This isn’t quite reinstatement, but it is mighty interesting. FOX has hired MLB’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose as a baseball analyst.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Rose will serve as a guest analyst for the MLB on FOX pregame show on FOX and FOX Sports 1. He’ll also appear on “MLB Whiparound,” “America’s Pregame” and “FOX Sports Live” on FOX Sports 1.

FOX didn’t require MLB’s permission to hire Rose, but they did inform them about the possibility.

“As a courtesy, FOX informed us that they were interviewing Pete Rose for an on-air studio position,” said Pat Courtney, baseball’s chief communications officer. “The decision to hire on-air talent for its telecasts rests solely with FOX.”

Rose has officially filed for reinstatement with MLB and new commissioner Rob Manfred intends to take a look at the situation. For what it’s worth, Rose said that he didn’t take this job with the idea that it will help his cause:

“I don’t even worry about that. I’ve never thought about that,” Rose said. “I’m just trying to give back to baseball. Hopefully people will watch and I’ll make some good points that will help them understand the game more.

“I’m not concentrating or worrying about reinstatement. I’m worried about working, having fun. This will be fun for me. It won’t be like work. That’s the way I look at it.”

To this current generation of fans, Rose is mostly known for his banishment from the game more than anything he did as a player. With this new position, he’ll get a chance to talk about and analyze the game on the field. And that could be a lot of fun.

Rob Manfred says it would be hard to reinstate Pete Rose in a limited way

pete rose getty

I’ve long argued that, if you’re going to reinstate Pete Rose, it may be a good idea to limit his reinstatement to roles in which he would not have any direct say or impact over players or strategic baseball decisions. Maybe this matters less now than it would’ve a few years ago, as I have also noted that Rose is probably too old and has been out of the game too long to be a serious candidate for a managing, coaching or executive job, but it’s still something worth considering.

Jayson Stark spoke to Rob Manfred recently, however, and Manfred seems to think that a Rose reinstatement would have to be an all-or-nothing proposition:

Manfred said that while he’s open to discussing different compromise scenarios, “that’s going to be a product of the process that we work through with Pete and his representatives . . . I’m not sure that human beings can slice that that thin. You know what I’m saying? You’re either in or you’re out of the game to some extent.”

Manfred noted that it’s a practical issue of monitoring what Rose would be doing. If, say, he was in Cincinnati and his title was something which suggested he was outside of baseball operations, how would anyone know if he was secretly immersing himself in the day-to-day baseball operations of the club.

I can see that. But on some level maybe he’s a Tommy Lasorda figure, right? Lasorda has not been an official, day-to-day Dodgers baseball operations guy for some time. He’s currently a “Special Advisor to the Chairman.” His responsibilities include “scouting, evaluating and teaching minor league players, acting as an advisor and ambassador for the Dodgers’ international affiliations, and representing the franchise at more than 100 speaking engagements and appearances to various charities, private groups and military personnel each year.”

There are some baseball ops things in there. But, really, anyone who is around the Dodgers knows that Lasorda’s biggest job is to just hang around and be Tommy Lasorda. He’s not telling Don Mattingly who to play. He’s not pressuring Andrew Friedman about trades. If he’s talking to some young Dodgers player, it’s a history lesson, not serious baseball instruction most of the time. Everyone knows the chain of command there.

I feel like we’d see much the same thing with Pete Rose and the Reds, even if he had an unconditional reinstatement. To someone like Billy Hamilton, Rose is more historical figure than anything else. If Rose went up to him and tried to get him in on some crazy gambling scheme, doesn’t it stand to reason that Hamilton would nod, smile and then walk away and roll his eyes? Or, if he didn’t, that someone in Cincinnati would say something if Rose was overstepping reasonable bounds? He’s a very different figure now than he was in the 1980s.

So I doubt it’s a big deal one way or the other. Yes, it’s important that a reinstated Rose not be in a position to influence outcomes in any substantive way. But is it really likely that he even would be?