The possibility is increasing that Pete Rose will still be managing the Cincinnati Reds when the 1989 baseball season opens with the Reds playing host to the Dodgers Monday at Riverfront Stadium.
An announcement on the outcome of the commissioner’s investigation into Rose’s alleged gambling activities may not be made before next week, sources familiar with the investigation claim.
Rose could be suspended for a year if it is established he bet on baseball, or he could be barred for life if he bet on games in which his team was involved.
The commissioner’s office is expected to make a statement regarding the investigation either today or Wednesday, but a definitive decision is not expected before late this week, at the earliest.
It was also learned that the investigation will not alter Peter Ueberroth’s plans to step down as commissioner at midnight Friday.
Bart Giamatti, National League president, will assume the commissioner’s responsibilities Saturday.
“The transition will not affect the timing of the decision in any way,” a source said. “An announcement will be made when the inquiry is done and not before. As more things come to light, more have to be investigated. The process hasn’t been accelerated or delayed by the fact Peter is leaving office.”
The investigation is believed to involve the FBI and IRS and span betting activities in several states, complicating and delaying a process that has reportedly touched known criminal elements.
The Reds have been forced to prepare for the 1989 season under a cloud of uncertainty, and Rose has been subjected to a media onslaught.
Why did the commissioner’s office go public with its investigation, casting doubt on Rose’s integrity and leaving him vulnerable to media attack?
The office has refused to comment, but it is believed that it felt a cover statement was more acceptable than a leak from one of the involved agencies. Several news sources were also probing Rose’s gambling activities and it was apparently felt that a public statement would demonstrate that baseball was taking the lead in keeping its house in order.
Now, amid the daily speculation and accumulation of evidence, it appears that the 1989 season may be under way before the status of the Red manager is determined.