“If they gave him another chance, I would bet he would do the right thing,” Tommy Gioiosa said. “With Pete, I think he gambled out of boredom. He wanted to have fun. It was a big price to pay.”
Paul Janszen offered another view of Rose, who was thrown out of baseball for life 25 years ago today. Janszen and Gioiosa were two of the names most prominently linked to the 1989 John Dowd investigation that resulted in Rose’s banishment by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
Mimicking Rose’s oft-stated position, Janszen said, “’Hey, man, I deserve a second chance.’ He’s gone to a couple churches in Philadelphia and Louisville, and he makes a few bucks saying everybody deserves a second chance. His second chance came when baseball said sign the agreement and apply for reinstatement.
“That second chance came every year. It’s like letting the fox back in the hen house. If you want to, say ‘I’ve been a dumb s.o.b. This is what I’ve done. I failed so many people.’ I can’t understand the mindset of a guy who has everything.
“My opinion is people have to earn second chances. You can’t earn them by waiting out time. If you talk from your heart and say ‘I’ve been an idiot; I won’t go near a race track,’ I think that would resonate with the commissioner, whoever he is. But he still loves it. I feel sorry for him.
“He’s still got time. He’s still breathing. I feel sorry for Pete.”
I appreciated Janszen’s candor, as I did Gioiosa’s. I appreciated their willingness to talk about Rose, with whom they have had little or no contact in years. But I have no sympathy for the 73-year-old Rose. His arrogance, his cockiness and his belief that he was too good to be punished – after all, he was Pete Rose – prompted him to lie for 15 years, from the day he was sentenced in 1989 to the day his book was published in 2004.
Despite my disdain for Rose, I thought he had a chance to be reinstated if he had …