CINCINNATI (AP) - Pete Rose says he finally gets what former
baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti meant when he talked about
reconfiguring his life.
So, he's 'fessing up.
Baseball's hits king told The Associated Press in an interview
Tuesday that it's taken him a long time to realize what Giamatti
wanted when he gave Rose a lifetime ban for betting on baseball in
1989. Giamatti urged him to "reconfigure" his life.
"I'm kind of a hardheaded guy. That's probably the reason I got
all those damn hits," Rose said. "It took me years to figure out
what he was saying was to step forward and 'fess up and take
responsibility for what you did. In the last several years, I
finally get it. I understand."
In recent months, Rose has tried to patch up relationships with
former Big Red Machine teammates and apologize for how his gambling
scandal affected them. He also got back on a baseball field - Major
League Baseball gave the Reds permission to celebrate the 25th
anniversary of record-setting hit No. 4,192 on Sept. 11.
"Just a magic moment for someone who's retired from the game,"
It became a chance for him to make amends.
Rose, who turns 70 on April 14, said he reached out to Hall of
Famers Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan this year and apologized. The
investigation of Rose's gambling took some of the attention away
from Bench's induction into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
"I expressed how sorry I was to those guys, if I caused any
embarrassment over the years," Rose said. "Especially Johnny. He
was inducted in '89, the year of the investigation. Him and I are
on the same page. I can call him a good friend. I'm happy to be
able to do that."
After the Reds honored him on the field Sept. 11, Rose went to a
nearby casino to get roasted by former teammates, players and
friends. At the end of the evening, Rose apologized to them, too,
breaking down at one point.
"That was the first time I had a microphone in my hand, and I
had guys I wanted to apologize to in the room," Rose said. "It
was hard, but I did it because that's what I wanted to do. I just
felt it was the right time for me to do what I did."
Hall of Famer Tony Perez told the AP afterward that Rose's
contrition and his emotion were touching and convincing.
"He's a different guy now," said Perez, who was at the roast.
"He's changed. I believe it."
Rose hoped that he would be reinstated after he acknowledged in
his second autobiography, "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars,"
that he bet on Reds games while he was player-manager in the 1980s.
There was a backlash over the 2004 book, and Rose remains banned
from baseball and its Hall of Fame.
"I understand the Hall of Fame," Rose said. "I understand
what it takes to get to the Hall of Fame. I also understand how I
screwed it up."
Commissioner Bud Selig has given no indication that he's leaning
toward reinstating Rose, who accepts whatever happens.
"I'm perfectly happy inside right now - understand what I'm
saying?" he said. "I think anybody that knows me knows that I'm
very sorry. I understand the mistakes I made. There's some people
that will never give you a second opportunity. That's fine. I can
understand they feel that way."
Rose's career is the subject of a documentary. "4192 - The
Crowning of the Hit King" will be previewed on Friday in
Cincinnati. Rose reminisces about getting his career going with his
He gets prolonged standing ovations from fans when he attends
games at Great American Ball Park, sitting in seats behind home
plate. He went on the field there for the first time as part of the
Sept. 11 festivities, walking to first base and stepping on it 25
years to the day after his record-setting single at old Riverfront
"I don't think I'm going to make 50," Rose said, laughing.
"It's going to be hard. I might wheel myself out there. I don't
know if I'd be able to step on the base hard, but I'd probably die
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)