In 1989, Major League Baseball handed Pete Rose a lifetime ban for violating Rule 21, which prohibits athletes from gambling on any sport. Today, Rob Manfred announced the application for reinstatement from Pete Rose will be given a “full and fresh look.”
Manfred took over as commissioner of the MLB this January after Bud Selig resigned last year. Although being open to reviewing Rose’s case, he stands adamantly on protecting rule 21.
“The most fundamental rule in baseball that’s been there forever is Rule 21. It prohibits anybody who’s on the field from betting on baseball or betting on any sport. The rule is clear that if you bet on baseball you will be banished for life,” the commissioner stated.
In an interview earlier today, the commissioner was asked if he has already made up his mind on the matter, “The passage of time if nothing else, changes I think the situation somewhat. Mr. Rose has suggested to me he has things he wants me to understand about the situation. I’ll give him a full opportunity.”
“My job is to protect the integrity of the field,” he continued. “If you are on the permanently ineligible list, you can’t work in the game.”
The interview became grittier as reporters asked if Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. “Whether or not you’re eligible for the Hall of Fame is a product of the Hall of Fame decision to follow our ineligibility list,” he explained. “I don’t control the Hall of Fame rule.”
Manfred went on as he talked about the penalties of the gambling rules compared to the penalties for the use of steroids. “The rule on steroids probably should not be quite as strict … [as] the rule on gambling.”
“The difficulty with the steroid issue is there are a continuum of products out there that can cause players problems. It’s one of those areas that every sport struggles with,” he said.
From all the information gathered it seems that Manfred would like to protect the rules of the game at all costs. “The gambling rule is so fundamental to the integrity of the game that it should always stay where it is,” the commissioner stated.
It will be interesting to see how the review process plays out and exactly what Pete Rose has to say about his situation. Speculation around the league is that the ban will uphold and Rose will never make it to the Hall of Fame, where statically, he belongs.