|Tuesday, December 10
Updated: August 12, 6:36 PM ET
If reinstated, expect Rose to find work
By Sean McAdam
Special to ESPN.com
It's early to speculate, because nothing is finalized and the details of any potential settlement are unknown. But should commissioner Bud Selig reinstate Pete Rose and allow him to work in baseball again, a survey of a handful executives throughout the game suggests Rose won't be waiting long to find work.
"Someone will hire him, because he's Pete Rose," projected one major league general manager. "(Former president Richard) Nixon got another job, didn't he? I don't know how it would play out. I suppose someone could have him in their system, going around, talking to minor leaguers.
"I don't see him in a front-office capacity. And I'd be shocked if he managed again. There are still questions about whether he bet on the game and that could scare off some people and he might not know how to stay out of trouble. I think it would be more in a 'good-will ambassador' capacity. He'd be a good fit for the Reds or Phillies (for whom he played)."
Indeed, noted more than one person surveyed, Rose was already used by the Phils to serve as a recuiter to free agent Jim Thome, extolling the virtues of the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia.
"It's really hard to predict what might happen," another GM offered. "I would think if he gets clearance by the commissioner, his baseball ability would attract some offers. What those would be, it's too soon to say."
This GM, like others, imagined it would be easiest for Rose to work for either the Phillies or the Reds, where his presence would have particular meaning and significance to the fan base. Rose was a central part of the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s which took part in four World Series and won two, and was a key figure in the Phils' 1980 championship team, the franchise's first and only title.
"It would make it tougher (to hire him), no doubt about it, if he didn't have a history with the franchise," said the second GM. "The closer the (affiliation), the more it would help. I guess it comes comes down to the relationships he's developed in the past and how all this comes out."
Because Rose's reinstatement is only now being discussed, it's difficult to know exactly what the conditions might be. But several surveyed said Rose's attitude would play a large role in determining whether the game would be willing to embrace him again.
"What he comes out and says (as part of his reinstatement) will be important," said a third executive. "There are a lot of dynamics in place here. Baseball has been a very forgiving game. If he gets a clean slate, how he presents himself and explains himself will bear watching. If he does it right way, it would probably open a lot of doors."
Even in exile, Rose has been able to maintain a connection with fans, many of whom were outraged by NBC broadcaster Jim Gray's aggressive questioning about his alleged gambling following a ceremony which featured Rose as part of the All-Century Team.
Two months ago, Rose received one of the biggest ovations at Pacific Bell Park prior to Game 4 of the World Series when he was introduced as part of a Greatest Moments promotion.
Some fans have embraced him as an outlaw, who refuses to conform. Others are drawn to his outsized personality and innate competitive streak.
"Remember," said one club executive, "there are a lot of fans who miss having him be part of the game, in one capacity or another."
Still another GM was unsure of what sort of second-act role baseball's all-time hits leader could anticipate.
"It's all kind of new," said the GM of Rose's potential return. "I haven't given it a lot of thought. It's the kind of thing that usually, when it comes up on radio, I immediately switch off.'"
Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal covers baseball for ESPN.com.