By Dave Bruning
Pete Rose is the all-time leading hitter in baseball. He was banished from baseball in 1989 for gambling. I whole heartedly agreed with the ban. Gambling and baseball have been taboo going back to the 1919 Black Sox scandal in the World Series. I believe the time has come welcome Rose back to baseball. The following is the letter I would write if I were Pete Rose.
To Major League Baseball,
I miss you. I miss you so much I don’t think I’m capable of putting my thoughts into words, but I’m going to try. Filling out a lineup card when I was a manager was a piece of cake; that is how I am going to address this letter.
Batting 1st: I am sorry for my gambling. No excuses, just my first unsolicited apology, which is way overdue. Know that the weight of this burden has nearly crushed my soul.
Batting 2nd: The only thing I’ve ever really known in my life is baseball. Everything else, including my family, has always taken a back seat. This sobering reality makes my banishment all the more painful.
Batting 3rd: I am incredibly proud of the way I played the great game of baseball. The moniker, “Charlie Hustle” makes my chest swell with pride. When I stepped on a baseball diamond, I left nothing in the dugout.
Batting 4th: I have always struggled to understand the rulings of Bart Giamatti and Fay Vincent; it took me a long time to realize they were trying to protect the game of baseball, sadly, from me. These struggles led me to lash out at Jim Gray in Boston. I’m sorry Mr. Gray.
Batting 5th: Baseball is under new leadership. Rob Manfred is the new commissioner. Mr. Manfred, I would love to talk with you. The game of baseball needs me. The Commissioner’s only job description is to act in the best interest of baseball. I accepted my ban in the best interest of baseball; my return to the game is in the best interest of baseball and I believe the time is now.
Batting 6th: The 2015 All Star game is in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team. My greatest years came when I wore the Cincinnati Reds uniform. Seems like a great place for a reunion.
Batting 7th: I would love to be an ambassador for baseball. Baseball is full of fantastic talent. Mike Trout reminds me of me, only better. Ernie Banks has passed away. Hell, Derek Jeter’s entire career came and went with me not allowed to share in his greatness. If you thought I was “Charlie Hustle” on the field, wait till you see “Charlie Hustle” off the field as an ambassador for baseball.
Batting 8th: Second chances are a staple of our great country. I have payed dearly, and I would like a second chance. I want it, I believe the fans want it, and I believe Major League Baseball needs it.
Batting 9th: A humble and remorseful Pete Rose asking the great game of baseball to smile on me again.
Ernie, I’d love to play 2, but I’ll settle for one second chance.