Monday, March 16, 2015

Pete Rose Gives Rob Manfred An Opportunity

 Over the offseason, former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig stepped aside as his successor, Rob Manfred took over. Ushering in a new era of baseball, Manfred takes over the step in one of it's most important times. As baseball continues to distance itself from the steroid era, the game is at its peak when it comes to popularity. Manfred has made waves early, but he has an opportunity to knock it out of the park.

Of all of the people that have ever been associated with Major League Baseball, it is Pete Rose that has afforded Manfred his chance. Suggesting big moves left and right since taking over his new post, Manfred reinstating Rose into the sport would be monumental. Now, he has his chance.

Today ESPN reported that Rose has formally petitioned the new commissioner of Major League Baseball to reinstate him into the sport. Manfred has noted that he received the petition in saying, "I see it as a really simple thing. He's made a request. Part of my obligations under the major league constitution is to deal with those requests, and I'll deal with it." If he's going to deal with it, Manfred has the opportunity to vault himself into the conversation of the great commissioners that sports have ever seen.

Early returns suggests that basketball fans love Adam Silver, and he has quickly become synonymous with being everything people believe a commissioner should be. Without noting his faults of successes, Selig was a solid commissioner, but with this one decision Manfred can enter another realm. His decision is simple, separate Pete Rose the player from Pete Rose the person, and make the game a better representation because of it.

In his career, Rose collected 4,256 hits, a mark that still remains a Major League Baseball record and is seen as virtually untouchable. He played the sport with an undying passion, and the nickname "Charlie Hustle' exemplified who Rose was between the lines. As a manager, Rose ventured down a different path, and gambling issues forever have tainted his legacy. Although he may not have seen the same level of success as in his playing days, it's time for the sport to separate the two.

Often times I find myself campaigning against the notion that any celebrity or athlete should ever be mentioned in the same breath as the term "role model." Having no connection to these people, looking up to them is solely based off of their merits in a realm that remains a far-fetched hope in many of our lives. Seeing them compete or perform on their current platform allows us to venture away from the feelings of our every day lives, but trying to align the two typically provides a difficult practice. Pete Rose exemplifies this wholeheartedly.

As a ballplayer, Rose was, is, and will forever be one of the greatest to ever play the game. He is someone that still is the goal of current athletes, and will remain the mark many won't attain. As a person, Rose was human, and made mistakes under the scrutiny of a very real public eye. Emulating him on the diamond is something that is a career empowering choice, off it it is likely career ending.

When the dust settles, one can only hope that instead of worrying about defensive shifts and pitch clocks, Rob Manfred makes the most monumental decision of them all. Reinstate Pete Rose and usher him on his way too his rightful play in the Hall. The Reds host the All Star Game, and Rose will no doubt be there. If there's a more perfect stage, I'm struggling to come up with it.

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