Pete Rose is still banned for life from Major League Baseball. Nothing has changed on that front.
“A lifetime ban is a long time,” Rose said.
But that didn't stop Rose from serving as guest skipper of the Bridgeport (Conn.) Bluefish, an Atlantic League team that is not affiliated with a major league squad, on Monday night.
He also coached first base for the first five innings of the 2-0 victory over the Lancaster (Penn.) Barnstormers.
It was the first time Rose managed a team since his five-year stint as skipper of the Cincinnati Reds back in the 1980s. That ended in 1989 when he agreed to the ban for betting on baseball. Rose eventually admitted to betting on Reds games while managing the team.
Baseball's all-time hits leader, now 73, appeared back in his element Monday, if only for a day. Around 4,500 fans paid to see the game; about 50 of them paid $250 each for a “meet and greet” with Rose before this game and others paid $150 to have lunch with him.
One fan, George Libretti, 46, said he supported Rose's ban 25 years ago, but now thinks he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
“He's done his time,” he said. “It's time.”
Rose said the one-day gig had nothing to do with trying to get reinstated. Instead, he said, he just wanted to show he could be a good ambassador for baseball.
Still, he added, “If I'm ever reinstated, I won't need a third chance. Believe me.”
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