When the MLB All-Star Game comes to Cincinnati in 2015, longtime Reds star Pete Rose will be allowed to play a role in the festivities despite his lifetime ban from the sport.
"That'll be up to the Cincinnati club, and they know what they can do and they can't do," MLB commissioner Bud Selig told the Baseball Writers' Association of America Tuesday, via the Cincinnati Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans. "They've been very good about that. We haven't had that discussion."
Reds owner Bob Castellini made clear his team's intentions: "We plan on using him wherever Major League Baseball is comfortable with, but we're certainly going to include him."
Rose, who spent 19 of his 24 seasons playing with the Reds and another seven as manager (three of those seasons overlapped, when he served as player/manager), was banned from baseball in 1989 when an investigation revealed he had bet on his team.
Even so, as the all-time MLB hits leader and a crucial part of Cincinnati's baseball history, Rose's exclusion from the All-Star festivities at Great American Ball Park would feel wrong. Especially since the team has twice "officially recognized" the 73-year-old in Cincinnati since his ban, per Rosecrans.
Moreover, as ESPN's Jessamyn McIntyre alluded to, perhaps this is a step toward lifting Rose's ban and getting him into the Hall of Fame:
Selig, however, kept a familiar stance when it came to that particular topic.
"It's a matter under advisement. That's my standard line," the commissioner said, via Rosecrans. "I'm the judge and that's where it'll stay. There's nothing new."
Still, perhaps this is a sign of baby steps when it comes to MLB's firm stand on Rose. It's not likely that his lifetime ban will be lifted anytime soon, but it's at least encouraging to see him rightfully included in what will be a celebration of Cincy's baseball past.
The MLB All-Star Game always provides plenty of excitement among fans and players. Rose's role in the festivities next year will only add another level of intrigue.