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Pete Watch
2004-01-14 06:32
by Will Carroll

So as I closely watch the Pete Rose situation, I'm seeing certain things, but nothing is moving off the expected position. Certainly, Pete's popularity - which to Selig is the most important or perhaps only meaningful stat - is at or near rock bottom, but let's look at rock bottom. Pete's numbers are hovering around 50% in most of the country and 60% or more in Cincinatti, depending on how the question is asked. In recent appearances, Pete has been able to turn up the dial on contrition which is a plus for him. Instead of excerpts and month-old interviews, the "full story" is getting seen and Pete is able to adjust his public face on the fly.

The wild card in all this is the Vincent/Dowd angle, especially as it relates to Rose's betting as a player. There's some evidence in the Dowd Report that indicates he bet as a player and there's certainly a great deal of anecdotal evidence as well, if not just common sense. Dowd has indicated, publicly and privately, that he has an 'ace in the hole.' (Good to know he didn't sell out with his October donation to the Hall.)

If Rose's popularity trends upward, even slightly, in the coming weeks, the door will remain slightly open. The best sign will be a "I've read the book and seen the interviews and I've changed my mind" piece from a major writer or Hall of Fame. The wild card on the other side is Rose or someone close to him going rogue on Selig.

It's the story that never ends ... and we have about a year to go, from all current indications. I think Selig might actually like the status quo.

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