Today it was disclosed that Bud Selig and Pete Rose have been meeting to discuss Rose's reinstatement after 13 years in exile. The whole thing is hush-hush. Even Rose, not exactly a reticent man, is keeping mum.
Rose applied for reinstatement in 1997. Selig never ruled on the reinstatement. It may all boil down to Bud finally telling Pete, "I got the paperwork."
More likely, Selig is tired of the negative publicity and just wants the Rose issue to go away. Also, reinstating Rose will allow MLB to use him for special promotions without appearing two-faced. Two exceptions were made to Rose's ban: for the All-Century Team celebration a few years ago and for Baseball Memorable Moments celebration in game 4 of this year's World Series. Selig did not allow him to attend the ceremonies attending the last game at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium early this year, however (possibly because their was no lucrative video tie-in that MLB could have exploited).
If I were Rose, I would rather keep the status quo. Once he is reinstated, he will have to go into the Hall, at which point he will just be an average Hall-of-Famer. Right now, he has the cachet of being baseball's bad boy, the anti-hero every fan seems to adore (rather than the low-life scumbag that he actually is).
I have said before that baseball is going to have to reinstate Rose because they have no credible evidence that he bet on the Reds. He may have bet on baseball, but the only thing that carries a lifelong ban is gambling on one's own team (betting on baseball carries a one-year suspension, something Rose has served 13 times over).
It appears though that baseball is going to exact a little humility out of Rose before they let him play their reindeer games again. If Rose apologizes, then MLB can save face in reinstating him. All will be forgiven, but the 13 years will not have been in vain. I have a problem with the sophistic logic underlying this: if Rose finally admits that he did something wrong, something that the Dowd Report never proved conclusively (other than his trafficking with gamblers), then he will be given papal absolution. But if he admits to wrongdoing, shouldn't he then be banned for life for the admission? I guess if they can agree on an admission of the lesser charge of gambling on baseball in general but not the Reds and sentence him to time already served, both sides are happy and a resolution can be reached.
I wonder if they would ever let him manage again or if anyone would consider hiring him as manager. One thing's for sure--MLB will be ready to make some profits on all the Pete Rose paraphernalia they will start to foist on the public, which may be the most effective and longlasting way to damage his reputation in the baseball world and wreak their revenge. So maybe Bud wins either way.