The alltime hitsleader signs autographs 15 days a month in Las Vegas.
Dan Patrick:You're commissioner for a day. What's your first move?
Pete Rose:Reinstate me [laughs].
Q: What do youthink the Mitchell Report accomplished?
PR: I think itjust created a lot of bad publicity for the game. And gave the media a lot totalk about for a long period of time.
DP: Formercommissioner Fay Vincent says that you're like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds inthat what made you great also kept you from admitting a mistake. True?
PR: I should havecome clean long before I did, but I was in a tough situation, knowing I wasgoing to lose a job, and not knowing what I was going to do, if I said I bet onbaseball. But [my betting] had nothing to do with the outcome of games. Whenyou're making your body bigger, that directly affects the outcome of agame.
DP: What's worse,betting on your team or using performance-enhancing drugs?
PR: I don't thinkthere's any question using drugs is worse. I was absolutely wrong, but when youbet on your team to win, what do you do? You do everything in your power to winthe game.
DP: Would you putClemens in the Hall of Fame?
PR: Yes. Anybodythat has 3,000 hits and 500 home runs deserves to be in.
DP: But he wasbusted for steroids, Pete.
PR: But thereagain, how long did he take steroids? It took a career to build up thosestatistics. Barry Bonds got seven MVPs and 760-some home runs. Roger Clemens isone of the best pitchers in history. It's hard for me to think that the Hall ofFame wouldn't have those guys in it.
DP: You're 19years on the outside looking in at baseball. Does it feel like you're still inprison in a way?
PR: I've learnedto live with it. The hardest thing to understand is why baseball will not givea guy like me a second chance. They'll give everyone else one. Believe me whenI say this, baseball would be better off if Pete Rose is managing a baseballteam somewhere today.
THE FINEPRINT:Did you see that Cal Ripken is a special envoy to the State Department?And Tony Gwynn is a special ambassador to International House of Pancakes.
Go toDANPATRICK.COM for more from Pete Rose and other recent interviews, and hearlive audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m. to noon ET, Mon.--Fri.
DAVID ORTIZ is upset. Major League Baseball will startenforcing rules meant to speed up the game. He says that when he steps out ofthe box, it's because he's thinking about what to do with the next pitch:"Do you know what it takes to figure out how to hit a baseball?" Iunderstand, and I also appreciate the gamesmanship of getting a pitcher out ofhis rhythm. But batters are taking their "me" time too far. They haveto adjust the gloves, the pads, the jock, clean the shoes—in any otherprofession, wouldn't they be seen as having OCD? And it gets worse every year.Now if baseball really wants to pick up the pace, here are a fewsuggestions:
1) Put radios in the helmets. No more tedious handsignals.
2) Pitchers get one pickoff attempt per runner. (Addedbenefit: more stolen bases. A lot more.)
3) One cup adjustment per inning.
4) Eliminate Orioles starter Steve Trachsel.
5) Add instant replay. Oh, wait, that would slow thegame down even more, wouldn't it?
Age of Innocence
CONGRATS TO Kenxs Griffey Jr.—not just for nearing the600 home run milestone, but for doing things right. My thought about Griffey isthe same one I have about Greg Maddux, who got his 350th win a few weeks ago:This is how athletes are supposed to age. They get dinged up, they lose somestuff, but they keep at it. Those two are the flip side of Barry Bonds andRoger Clemens. Griffey's lengthy stays on the DL look like badges of honor now,given what we've learned about how others have used steroids to speed recovery.People once thought Griffey, 38, would be the one to pass Hank Aaron's home runmark. He won't, but whom do you feel better about, the guy who got the recordor the guy who didn't?
Don't Ask Him to Go Green
HE'S NOT a Laker any more, but there's no doubt aboutwhom Jerry West, the former player and G.M., will be rooting for in the NBAFinals; his teams lost to the Celtics there seven times. "I still wake upat night thinking about green uniforms," West told me last week. Here's howdeep it goes for him: He said he doesn't even have any green in hiswardrobe.
JOHN IACONO (ORTIZ)
JONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES (GRIFFEY)
AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES (ROSE)
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER