By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Pete Rose continued to take his case to the people Friday.
He did a follow-up interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson on Good Morning, America.
Later, Rose was given a direct pipeline to Cincinnati fans in a spot on WLW-AM (700) with Bill Cunningham.
Rose has admitted publicly that he bet on baseball and his team while managing the Reds in 1987 and '88. The admission came in his book My Prison Without Bars and in a prime-time interview with Gibson.
Friday, Rose was in damage-control mode. He responded to those who said he wasn't remorseful enough, that he needed to say how sorry he was.
On the WLW show, Cunningham asked Rose to address Reds fans directly:
"Well, thanks for your support," Rose said. "Please accept my apology. I'm deeply sorry if I offended you. If I made you mad or lose respect for me, what I'll try to do in the future is earn that respect back from you. That's all I can do. I am the same guy you saw Sept. 11 (1985) when I broke down. I'm human. I made a mistake. I'm sorry I made that mistake. I'm looking for a second chance. I won't need a third. I hope I can help in some way to get Cincinnati baseball to where it should be."
Rose sounded sincere but matter-of-fact in both interviews.
"I'm not going to overdo it remorse-wise," he said. "That's not my personality."
Rose told Cunningham he'd accept reinstatement even if it meant pledging to never bet again - legally or illegally.
"Absolutely," Rose said. "You send that agreement over here and I'll sign it right now. . . . That would be the greatest thing ever to happen to me."
Rose said on WLW that he thought his reinstatement was a virtual lock after he admitted to betting on the Reds to commissioner Bud Selig in November 2002.
"But what happened was someone in Cincinnati went in and dug up that tax lien, which I had taken care of, and when Bud read about that, he put it on hold," Rose said.
The Enquirer in January 2003 reported that Rose had a $151,689 tax lien on a condo he owned in California.
Rose said he'd hold no animosity toward Selig for holding things up at that point.
"I can understand that. The last thing in the world I want to do or Bud wants to happen is to embarrass him or his legacy and make him look bad," Rose said. "I would do none of the above. So we're back in that transition period. He wants to know if there are any more skeletons out there. I understand that."
The tax matter was resolved in July 2003. Rose told Cunningham he thinks 2004 will be the year he's reinstated.
"I'm very optimistic," he said "But no one has said, 'We're going to reinstate you at this time or this time.' What I've been told is, 'Hang in there, you're doing a good job ...' "
Selig has been portrayed as Rose's nemesis, but Rose spoke glowingly of the commissioner Friday.
"I think he understood my sincerity," Rose said on GMA. "I could never let a man like this down."
Rose was full of contrition Friday but stopped short when Gibson asked him if he owed former commissioner Fay Vincent and investigator John Dowd apologies.
"I owe an apology to my ex-teammates, friends, family, and most importantly, fans. . . . They have to understand I'm sorry. I mean, I just can't say that enough."
Why not Dowd and Vincent?
"You know, as an investigator, John Dowd would get a good mark from me," Rose said. "But as a fair and impartial investigator, he would not. Because I wasn't overly excited or happy the way he did his investigating. I don't think it was fair, the way he came to his conclusions. The end result, he was right. But I just didn't like the way he went about it."
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