Dear Mr. Selig,
I am not a gambling man, but I firmly believe that Pete Rose should be invited back to the Poker Table if you will. Although I see the situation through "Rose" colored glasses being a Reds' fan, I have come to believe this even more strongly in light of the era that we are in. When you start to look at everything, it becomes increasingly obvious that there are a myriad of reasons to reinstate "Charlie Hustle," and not too many to keep up with this nonsense.
Let me first state that I do not agree with what we now know (according to his own admission) about Pete Rose's actions. Betting on baseball while you are managing a team and thereby leaving the door open for manipulating games is not what anyone wants in the game of baseball. It does indeed speak to the integrity of the game. This has after all been "THE" argument for keeping the man out of the picture. He apparently did the unforgiveable and hedged his bets against baseball.
Lets now go down the path of integrity shall we? Can anyone in their right mind honestly make this argument to keep Pete Rose out of baseball any longer? If anything screams "messing with its integrity," it is steroids. If Pete Rose cheated, then those that took steroids downright stole the integrity of the game. If Pete Rose has a lifetime ban, why don't those 104 players that tested positive for performance enhancing drugs on the super secret list (I say that tongue and cheek) not also have to pay the price?
I'll even go a step further and argue that at least Pete Rose did something that is considered legal in the majority of the United States. To this day, taking steroids without a prescription is illegal in 50 states, yet a large percentage of players are given a pass by everyone in Major League Baseball hoping that this problem just slowly diffuses itself. Isn't it ironic on many levels that the man that played the game with the utmost integrity can be blotted out of the Hall of Fame by that very same attribute?
What about guys that have gotten in trouble with the law, or have done illicit drugs? How about the wife beaters, the spit-ballers, those that got caught corking their bats? Why is it that Pete Rose's sins are held to so much more scrutiny than all of these others? One can argue that "Shoeless" Joe Jackson set the precedent by getting a ban for betting, or that it has to do with Pete Rose's lack of remorse, or abrasive personality. Despite all of this, the man is still human, and to this day, he is still the all-time hits king.
It is time to set Pete Rose free Bud Selig. For all of the controversal times you have endured during your tenure, it is time to cement your legacy and give this Big Red Machine a tuneup. You are in the batter's box with a full count on you and the next pitch is about to come towards home. Please, lay down that sacrifice bunt and get him into scoring position before you swing and miss at a fastball under the chin. I'll see your lifetime ban, and raise you a shot of reality. Your call...