By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer
During a lunch break between sessions of a hitting clinic at Champions Baseball Academy in Sharonville two weekends ago, Pete Rose warmed to the topic of possibly being a manager in the big leagues again - if he can get himself reinstated.
Somebody reminded Rose that the Florida Marlins' Jack McKeon is 72 years old.
"How old are you, Pete?" he was asked.
"Sixty-two," Rose said. "And I'm a pretty young 62. I just got everything checked out last week. My heart's good, my blood pressure's good. ... It doesn't matter what age you are if you fit into the program."
And this was before McKeon's Marlins beat the New York Yankees to win the World Championship.
After that improbable event, one can imagine Rose turning out with the roosters at the crack of dawn to crow about how much time he has left.
He sure isn't throwing any water on the fire. There are still a lot of people in Cincinnati who would like to see him in uniform again - at least 40,000, judging by how many turned out for his softball game at Cinergy Field last year - and Reds' ownership might consider hiring him if he can get reinstated.
Baseball has had no comment on Rose's pending reinstatement, except to say there is no timetable. Mike Schmidt, Rose's friend and former teammate, said in Cincinnati last summer he expects a decision this month.
If the Reds ever do hire Rose to manage again, it might be a shot in the arm for season-ticket sales, especially considering the expected fallout after last season's 93-loss record.
"I best serve baseball by being with the team," Rose said. "You can say, 'But would he be a scout or be this or be that?'... But how many people do you know who could go out and sell 42,000 tickets to a softball game?"
Rose maintains he still has the goods to get wins.
"What really (teed) me off when this thing (a story about Rose's pending reinstatement) came out a couple of months ago ... (is) those guys on ESPN said, 'Pete wasn't a good manager, anyway - what's the big deal?' " Rose said. "(But) what constitutes a good manager? I won a lot more than I lost."
In Rose's four full seasons, his teams finished second four straight times (1985-88).
Would Rose be willing to coach?
"I don't want to coach," he said. "Let me tell you why: I can't afford to coach. ... I believe that if I sat down with the right people, I could explain to people - and I'm not just talking (Cincinnati) now - I could explain economically what I could do as far as attendance is concerned. ...
"You're not going to get a job because you got 4,000 hits or because you made 17 All-Star Games," Rose said. "You're going to get an opportunity because economically it's ... going to make sense to somebody. 'Can we get 4,000 more a game? Can we get 3,000? Can we get 1,000?' Whatever it is."
Does Rose actually believe he can sell a lot more tickets, even though he's no longer playing?
"I believe my biggest asset is my attitude," Rose said. "When I came back here in '84, the team had a terrible attitude. I had to change the whole attitude around. Change the attitude, and you change the formula from losing to winning. And that's what people want to see. How many more people can you draw? There's no way of knowing. ... But it doesn't matter (who) manages the Reds if they lose, because people aren't going to come to the game."
In Rose's four seasons here, the Reds finished 89-72, 86-76, 84-78 and 87-74. In those years, the Reds were 40 games over .500. In the previous three seasons, they were 76 games under .500.
"If I was the basketball coach, you know what they'd say?" Rose asked. "(So-and-so) is a helluva athletic director - (he) brought in a helluva coach to turn the program around. ... But because you're a baseball guy, you don't win the pennant, you haven't accomplished anything."
Rose said there are two things he will "bring to the table" if he gets a manager's job.
"I'm not trying to sound arrogant," Rose said, but "I'm going to win and I'm going to put people in the seats. ... I'm totally convinced that I can do that."
More from Pete Rose
"Joe (Morgan) is one of the guys who really got the ball rolling" for reinstatement, but it was Mike Schmidt who has been at all the meetings.
"But you know who got the ball rolling? People. Fans. (The ovations in San Francisco) and Atlanta, and 42,000 people at (last year's softball game at Cinergy Field). What do you think (would have been) said if 4,000 people showed up? 'Who cares about Pete Rose?' "
"People have got to be careful about what they hear" regarding reinstatement. "Because you can hear whatever you want to hear from anybody. ... I don't hear anything. There's only two people (worth hearing), and that's (MLB president) Bob DuPuy and (commissioner) Bud Selig."
Some free advice
Pete Rose finds himself as the outcast trying to break back into society's good graces. Top of the Second feels that being on the outside isn't always so bad - and we have the historical examples to prove it. Pete could learn a few lessons from these guys:
That's Sir Winston Churchill to you. After being ridiculed and isolated by many intellectuals in Europe for his diatribes against Hitler and Nazism, Churchill took power as prime minister in 1940 and helped spearhead the Allies' victory in World War II.
The voters repaid him by booting his party from power in 1945. But Churchill returned as prime minister in 1951 and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953.
What Pete can learn from this: Heroes don't worry about acceptance.
McQueen embodied the anti-hero character popular in 1960s-70s cinema. For our money, it doesn't get better than 1965's The Cincinnati Kid, when McQueen's character tries to bust The Man, played by Edward G. Robinson, in poker.
If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading here. If you have, well then, you know McQueen doesn't take Robinson at all.
What Pete can learn from this: It's better to try to beat The Man and lose than it is to suck up to The Man.
Salinger's an outcast by decision, and we just think he couldn't be any cooler if he tried. The recluse continually has been the subject of unwanted profiles, and one former girlfriend, Joyce Maynard, wrote a tell-all book in 1998.
Salinger's response? "I wrote The Catcher in the Rye. What did you write?" (Editor's note: We've never actually heard Salinger say this, but it would be awesome if he did.)
What Pete can learn from this: When you achieve greatness, nothing more needs to be said.
REDS - PETE ROSE
Back in the saddle?
BENGALS / NFL
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Bengals-Cardinals: The Edge
Strahan is putting up Hall-worthy sack totals
Curnutte's NFL power rankings
OSU 21, Penn St. 20
Tressel puts off decision on QB
Gamble again starts on both sides of ball
7 OTs, 1 more loss for UK
No. 10 Virginia Tech 31, No. 2 Miami 7
No. 1 Oklahoma 52, No. 14 Oklahoma State 9
No. 23 Florida 16, No. 4 Georgia 13
No. 16 Texas 31, No. 12 Nebraska 7
No. 5 Florida State 37, Notre Dame 0
No. 11 Michigan 27, No. 9 Michigan State 20
No. 3 USC 43, No. 6 Washington St. 16
Top 25 roundup: Eli racks up big numbers
Mount loses early lead, falls to Anderson
Scores; how Top 25 fared
UC 61, Northern Kentucky 48
Xavier 100, EA Sports 63
Daugherty: Look past the wins, find the wonder
Kenyon Martin hurts left ankle
Elder 28, Anderson 7
Colerain 45, LaSalle 21
Moeller 14, Huber Heights Wayne 10
Northmont 52, Mason 35
Highlands 21, CovCath 7
Roundup of Ohio's other playoff games
OTHER PREP SPORTS
Lakota West closer to championship after tough 2-1 win
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Holy Cross' title hopes sunk by Sacred Heart
Ousted Bacon planning for bright future
Ursuline, St. Ursula may meet for title
St. X proves itself when it matters
A surprise winner gives 1A field a jolt
Leeper, Thompson race to titles
Highlands set to defend title at state meet
Coaches' futures remain unclear
Kozerski has own field of dreams
ENQUIRER PAGE TWO
In the end, it seems mother knows best
Page Two power rankings
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