Pete Rose is disappointed in Rob Manfred's decision to uphold his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball but acknowledged that he put the new commissioner "in a tough spot to make a judgment on my situation."
Rose held a news conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, one day after Manfred rejected his plea for reinstatement.
"I'm disappointed, obviously disappointed," Rose said. "But I will continue to be the best baseball fan in the world. ... I'm a baseball player. I'm a baseball person, and that's never gonna change."
Rose began the news conference by thanking Manfred and describing their multiple meetings over the past year as "cordial." He also jokingly suggested that he "should actually be the commissioner of baseball," given how much he promotes and watches the sport.
"I'm a good guy, to be honest with you," Rose said. "I tried to be as honest as I could with the commissioner, but I made some mistakes and I clarified them. Some of his questions, though, I kind of panicked."
Rose, 74, emphasized that he wants to be a "friend of baseball" rather than being an "outsider." He mentioned his hope for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame but also elaborated on the many stars he played with and coached.
"It would be nice to have the opportunity to go to the Hall of Fame," he said. "My whole life has been a Hall of Fame life just by the association with the teammates I had."
In a letter sent to Rose and released publicly Monday, Manfred cited Rose's continued gambling and evidence that he bet on games when he was playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds. Baseball's all-time hits leader conceded Tuesday that he still recreationally bets on baseball but said he thinks he can help others.
"I think I can teach lots of people not to make same mistakes I made, to learn from my situation," he said. "People headed down the wrong path can learn from my situation."
Rose spoke on an outdoor patio fronting the Las Vegas Strip, where a crowd of a few hundred onlookers gathered behind the television cameras to watch the spectacle. At one point the crowd started chanting "Let him in, let him in," getting a wide smile from Rose in reaction.
While Manfred had the final say in whether Rose could be reinstated, he made a point of noting Monday that his decision was separate from that of the Hall of Fame, which in 1991 adopted a rule keeping anyone on the permanently ineligible list off the ballot.
Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said nothing has changed regarding those rule, but he added that Rose's feats are represented in the Hall as he has donated at least 20 items, including jerseys, bats and cleats.
"For those fans who feel a kinship with Pete and feel that his career is important enough that it should be remembered in the annals of history, the answer is, it is," Idelson said.
Rose was joined by one of his sons and flanked by two attorneys, one of whom argued that Rose should be allowed on the Hall ballot.
Rose, who was banned from baseball in 1989 after MLB's investigation into his gambling, applied for reinstatement for a second time in February. Manfred took over as baseball's commissioner in January.
For almost 15 years after being banned, Rose denied he bet on baseball. In 2004, he changed his story in an autobiography, admitting to doing so only when managing the Reds.
An Outside the Lines report earlier this year produced documentation from one of Rose's former associates that cataloged his bets in 1986, when he was still playing. Sources told ESPN's T.J. Quinn it was extremely unlikely all along, even before the OTL report, that Rose would be reinstated.
Rose passed Ty Cobb as career hits leader with No. 4,192 on Sept. 11, 1985, and he finished his career with 4,256 hits. Rose played for the Reds from 1963 to 1978 and 1984 to 1986, acting as both a player and a manager from 1984 to 1986 and continuing as just a manager until 1989.
He first applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and met with then-commissioner Bud Selig in November 2002, but Selig never ruled on Rose's application.
At times it has been reported that Rose applied for reinstatement three times, but Major League Baseball told ESPN Wednesday that it was only twice.
Information from ESPN's Willie Weinbaum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.