|Thursday, March 13
Updated: March 14, 12:38 PM ET
Selig will not put timetable on making decision
NEW YORK -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig confirmed Thursday that he is actively considering Pete Rose's application for reinstatement.
Selig wouldn't put a timetable on a decision and didn't hint which way he was leaning, but his remarks following a speech to sports business executives were his most detailed public statements on Rose since he met with the career hits leader on Nov. 25.
Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in August 1989 following an investigation of his gambling and applied for reinstatement in September 1997. Until last fall, Selig repeatedly said he saw no reason to alter the punishment that Rose accepted from commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
In recent months, Selig has refused comment when asked about Rose.
"Bart gave Pete the right to apply for reinstatement," Selig said. "I kept it on my desk for 5½ years. I think it was time to at least consider that."
As long as Rose is banned from baseball, he is ineligible for the Hall of Fame ballot. Selig said the commissioner's office wasn't concerned with that issue, and that it was solely up to the Hall of Fame board.
"I just need to look at his application for reinstatement," Selig said.
Giamatti said that if Rose were to ever be allowed back into baseball, he would have to "reconfigure his life." Baseball executives are looking into reports that Rose was seen in January at a Las Vegas casino and sports book, and that the Internal Revenue Service placed a lien on a home he owns in the Los Angeles area, claiming he owes $151,689 in federal taxes from 1998.
"Bart was one of the best friends I've ever had in the world," Selig said. "Yes, we did have a very close relationship. But as commissioner, I have to do what I think is right and make a decision based on the facts."
Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, intends to meet with Rose's business manager, Warren Greene, later this month, and Rose may attend that meeting.
Baseball officials have said Selig doesn't intend to make a decision for Opening Day. However, he may allow Rose to participate in ceremonies to open Cincinnati's new ballpark on March 31. Rose was granted permission to participate in an on-field sponsor's promotion prior to World Series games in 1999 and last year.