Pete Rose is back in baseball. Well, he was for one night anyway.
Rose had a one-night stint as manager of the Independent Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish Monday night, where he squared off against Butch Hobson, the former Red Sox third baseman and manager who is currently the skipper of the Lancaster Barnstormers.
"I've waited 25 years, but I've done so because I was the one who screwed up," Rose told ESPN.com. "And if I were given a second chance, I would be the happiest guy in the world."
It was 25 years ago that Rose was last affiliated with Major League Baseball as manager of the Cincinnati Reds before receiving a lifetime ban from former MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti for betting on baseball in August 1989.
The 73-year-old Rose, who lives in Las Vegas where he signs and sells autographs to fans, says he still bets, though he told ESPN.com that he hasn't bet on baseball in a "very long time."
Rose is holding out hope that baseball commissioner Bud Selig will act on his 1997 reinstatement request. Selig, who is retiring in January, has never ruled on lifting Rose's ban.
"I haven't given up on Bud [Selig]," Rose said to ESPN. "I'm not glad he's leaving. He has a love for the game and has been good for it. If the next guy is his best friend, I don't expect he'll just turn me loose, but if he isn't, I hope he has an open mind."
Rose's Bluefish beat Hobson's Barnstormers, 2-0, before a crowd of 4,573 at the Ballpark of Harbor Yard.
Hobson, who played for the Red Sox from 1975-80, hit 30 homers along with 112 RBIs in 1977 -- a record for a Boston third baseman. After a stint as skipper of the PawSox, Hobson was promoted to manager of the Red Sox from 1992-94, putting up a 207-232 record. In 1996, Hobson was managing in the International League when he was arrested for possession of cocaine. The former star football player for Alabama under Bear Bryant, appreciated Rose's "football mentality."
“More than 4,000 hits, who’s going to come close to that? Nobody ever,” Hobson said, according to the Hartford Courant. “I tried to play like Pete Rose. Every day, he gave everything he’s got. He had a football mentality, which I love.”
But not everyone in Bridgeport was supportive of Rose, as this sign shows:
Rose said he’s learned to live with the baseball ban. He was asked during his pregame news conference if he had any advice for Los Angeles Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling on how to deal with his ban from the NBA.
"All I can say about Donald Sterling is, my fiancee is a lot better looking than his girlfriend," Rose joked before getting serious about the situation. "A lifetime ban is a long time."