Sunday, January 11, 2004

Expert doubts Rose is cured

Hit King keeps betting as he seeks reinstatement

The Associated Press

Pete Rose doesn't want to give up gambling. He's also drawing the line on apologies.

Fourteen years after his gambling disorder was diagnosed, baseball's banished career hits leader is seeking reinstatement while continuing to wager. Rose insists in his latest autobiography and in interviews this week that there's no reason to quit.

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An expert doubts Rose has cured himself. "It certainly can happen," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. "It's probably a little more prevalent than the Immaculate Conception, but not a lot."

In his latest autobiography, My Prison Without Bars, Rose acknowledges publicly for the first time that he bet on Cincinnati Reds games when he was their manager. His misdeeds resulted in his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in 1989.

Rose's continued gambling was cause for criticism Friday.

Barbara Pinzka, who was Rose's adviser and spokeswoman in 1989, was stunned to see Rose petting a race horse and talking about his visits to the track in a nationally televised interview the previous night.

"Seeing those pictures of him with the horse and having him say he's still betting at the track and that was OK, that just cemented the door against him getting back in baseball," Pinzka said.

Rose has promised he won't bet with bookmakers again but drew a distinction between illegal gambling and going to the track. He was asked whether he will be willing to stay away from tracks and casinos if Baseball makes it a condition for reinstatement.

"I would do anything they say, ... but they also have to understand one of my means of entertainment is periodically going to the races," Rose said.

After Rose accepted the lifetime ban in 1989, his lawyer ordered him to get treatment for gambling. Rose met a few times with Dr. James Hillard, currently chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati.

"Pete and I have concluded that he does, in fact, suffer from a clinically significant gambling disorder," Hillard said, in a statement released by Rose's advisers at the time. "He has concluded that he is powerless before gambling, that he will begin an ongoing treatment program and that he can never gamble on anything again."

But after Rose completed his jail sentence for tax crimes in 1991, he said he had little in common with other gamblers and regretted saying he had a gambling problem. Hillard's diagnosis isn't mentioned in the autobiography, and his name is misspelled throughout. Hillard declined to comment, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

Although Rose acknowledged some details of his betting for the first time last week, he hasn't come across as a reformed gambler who has his life in order, Whyte said.

"I think that's too bad," Whyte said. "Whether or not he's in recovery now, I don't know. But it doesn't look like he's having the time of his life."

Former commissioner Fay Vincent said as long as Rose gambles anywhere, MLB reinstatement will be a risk.

"I think that would be a suicidal step for Baseball," he said.

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