CINCINNATI (AP) — As his term winds down, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig hasn’t changed his outlook on Pete Rose’s lifetime ban for gambling.
Selig visited Cincinnati on Friday for the opening of an urban youth academy, and then drove down Pete Rose Way to visit Great American Ball Park and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum that contains many references to baseball’s hits leader.
He declined to talk about Rose’s case directly, but gave no indication that he’s inclined to change his mind and reinstate him before he leaves office in January. He acknowledged that Rose still has a lot of support in his hometown.
“I have to do in the end ... always do what I think is in the best interests of this sport,” Selig said. “That transcends everything else.”
Selig will retire in January after 22 years as commissioner, turning the office over to Rob Manfred. He’ll share his thoughts with Manfred about Rose’s lifetime ban — which began 25 years ago — and his longstanding application for reinstatement.
“How it ends eventually, I don’t know,” Selig said. “But I’ve taken it seriously, talked to a lot of people. And it’s one of those situations in life that are difficult, you wish didn’t exist but it does. I have five months to think about this.
“In some cases, ladies and gentlemen, whatever you do, somebody’s going to be mad at you and you have to learn to live with it.”
Selig pointed out that the commissioner’s office was created to deal with the Black Sox gambling scandal, so he has felt a heavy responsibility to protect the sport. Rose has acknowledged he bet on baseball games, including Reds games when he was manager.
“You are always concerned about integrity,” Selig said. “A sport without integrity is not a sport.”
In his last five months, Selig hopes to work on some changes that include:
—Speeding up games. He doesn’t think there needs to be a pitch clock, but wants to look at other changes. During conversations with Reds officials, Selig mentioned keeping batters in the box rather than allowing them to step out between pitches.
“I am concerned about some things,” he said. “So yes, in the next two to three weeks I’m going to try to get some things done so at least they kick in for next year.”
—Tweaking replays. Selig is happy with how expanded replay has worked this year, with reviews taking an average of 1 minute, 57 seconds. He sees a need for adjustments, including the delays when managers are waiting to decide whether to appeal a call. He noted that replays have cut out the prolonged arguments with managers.
“We’ve stopped all that,” he said. “So when people say it’s added to the time of the game now, I think it’s shortened it. But there are some tweaks that need to be done.”
—Awarding more All-Star games. Cincinnati will host the 2015 game next July 14. No other cities have been chosen.
“We have cities lined up begging for All-Star games,” Selig said. “In fact, one of the things I want to do before I leave is award a fair number of All-Star games.”
In response to a question about Mo’ne Davis, the girl who has gotten a lot of attention for her stellar pitching during the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Selig said he thinks it’s possible a woman will someday play in the majors.
“I think it’s captivating what’s happened in Williamsport,” Selig said. “Someday, I hope in my lifetime, there’s a woman in the big leagues. I’d be very, very happy.”