Alright, so Indians manager Terry Francona is a little biased when it comes to his former manager Pete Rose.
When the Reds unveiled their logo Wednesday morning for the 2015 All-Star Game that will be played at their Great American BallPark next season, Francona spent a few minutes later in the afternoon stumping for Pete Rose to be a big part of the festivities.
“Opening Day here is like no other,” said Francona, who played for the Reds in 1987 with “Charlie Hustle” as his skipper and the indomitable presence that was Marge Schott as the team’s chain-smoking, St. Bernard-loving owner.
“The kids used to get out of school – I don’t know if they still do that today. But they have a big parade, make a big deal about it. These people (here in Cincinnati) love their team. And they really love baseball.”
While that’s true, there’s one little problem with Francona’s suggestion. Rose, the game’s all-time hits leader, was banned from Major League Baseball in 1989 for being linked to gambling in the game – including gambling for and against his reds. Some 15 years later in 2004, Rose finally admitted such, perhaps thinking it might help both sides bridge the gap for a truce.
“It’s not my area,” Francona admitted. “But it would be a nice coming-out party (for Rose). Sure, I’m biased. But everybody who knows Pete, knows how he feels about the game. I think it would be really special.”
Perhaps Rose’s much-awaited return to the game that defined him is coming. With MLB Commissioner Bud Selig set to retire at the conclusion of this season, Francona was asked if he thought it could improve Rose’s chances at a triumphant return.
“I really don't know,” Francona again admitted, knowing he’d been speaking from the heart, not necessarily from reality “I don't know all of the ins and outs of it. I just think it’d be a good thing.”
No doubt many Reds fans here feel the same.