NEW YORK — Pete Rose’s latest plea to be let back into baseball’s graces has not swayed MLB commissioner Rob Manfred one bit.
“I believe that when you bet on baseball, from Major League Baseball’s perspective, you belong on a permanently ineligible list,” said Manfred at the conclusion of the three-day owners meetings Thursday.
“When I dealt with the issue the last time he applied for reinstatement, I made clear that I didn’t think that the function of that baseball list was the same as the eligibility criteria for the Hall of Fame. That remains my position.
“I think it’s a conversation that really belongs in the Hall of Fame board. I’m on that board, and it’s just not appropriate for me to get in front of that conversation.”
“I am the Hit King and it is my dream to be considered for the Hall of Fame,” Rose wrote. “Like all of us, I believe in accountability. I am 81 years old and know that I have been held accountable and that I hold myself accountable. I write now to ask for another chance.”
Rose, who was banned in 1989, also sought reinstatement seven years ago. He is expected to place the first bet at an Ohio casino when sports betting becomes legal in that state Jan. 1.
Manfred touched on a few other items during his press conference:
▪ It should come as no surprise that major league umpires will no longer sport “FTX” logos next season after the cryptocurrency company’s ongoing implosion.
“The FTX development is a little jarring,” said Manfred. “We have been really careful in moving forward in this space. We’ve been really religious about staying away from coins themselves, as opposed to more company-based sponsorships. We think that was prudent, particularly given the way things unfolded. We will, I think, proceed with caution in the future.”
Angels star Shohei Ohtani is one of the celebrity defendants named in a lawsuit against FTX.
“We weren’t named in that lawsuit, and I can’t really add anything to that,” said Manfred.
▪ Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, will host the All-Star Game in 2024. The game will be played in Seattle next year and in Philadelphia in 2026.
“I haven’t quite gotten around to 2025 yet,” Manfred said. “More to come on that one.”
▪ MLB is still wrestling with how best to deliver its games and strike media deals in an era when cord-cutting streaming is increasing, often at the expense of cable-based regional sports networks.
“The look forward from our perspective is that there is a remnant of the cable bundle that has real economic value that we need to be aggressive about, hoping to survive to preserve those economics,” said Manfred. “Equally important, we need to develop digital products that get to people who have opted out of the bundle and currently don’t have access to our game.”
Manfred expects a “loosening” of the exclusivity of RSN deals in the future.
▪ Manfred said the owners heard an “absolutely outstanding” presentation from Apple senior vice president of services Eddy Cue about the new deal last year for Friday night games on Apple TV.
Too soon to say whether Apple’s involvement with MLB will grow, but it sounds like a budding relationship.
“I said to the owners when he finished, ‘I love smart people who love the game and want to grow it, and Eddy hits the trifecta on that front,’ ” said Manfred.
▪ Manfred does not believe there’s anything to whispers of collusion concerning a report that the Mets may not be aggressive in pursuing free agent Aaron Judge out of deference to the crosstown Yankees.
“I’m absolutely confident that the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the agreement,” said Manfred. “You know, this was based on a newspaper report. We will put ourselves in a position to demonstrate credibly to the MLBPA that this is not an issue. I’m sure that’s going to be the outcome.”
▪ After the new CBA was signed in the spring, Manfred said he would try harder to forge positive relationships with players. He said he has met with players from all 30 clubs and found the conversations “instructive, positive, and helpful in terms of building a better relationship.”
He said he makes sure to check in with MLBPA executive director Tony Clark every month or so.