Dear Mister Rose:
The other day I saw two articles; one for, and one against, you being allowed back into baseball. You have choices to make as far as your future goes. One option is to continue your campaign, meet with Commissioner Manfred, and perhaps he will grant you your wish. Secondly, you could abandon the idea entirely. Thirdly, you could take your life and use it to help others. What I'm envisioning is an all out effort of the sort that people who watched you play during your glory days are accustomed to seeing from the man known as Charlie Hustle. Money is a relatively easy thing to give, and charitable donations could be structured to give you some tax benefits. It feels good to give whether it's time, money, or advice from someone such as yourself who has played baseball professionally at the highest level one can play it at.
You are in a position to speak to youths and others who may be struggling with addiction, and what is any addiction but a bad decision that is repeated over and over and over again? There are players and managers in the Hall of Fame who have made bad decisions. They were fortunate enough to have avoided the lure of gambling, or they were not caught if they didn't. In my opinion the Hall of Fame is not a collection of mortals beyond reproach, however there is a rule in place preventing your entry. As someone who has made many poor decisions, I would encourage you to do something that you will probably find very difficult. I would like you to stop expecting anything from baseball as far as your personal career goes. You can try this with other things before you let go of your Hall of Fame chase, and I believe that if you were able to stop expecting anything from baseball professionally, you would find a calming peace.
I believe that you know why that rule exists. That rule is necessary, and if I were in Commissioner Manfred's position, I would have a hard time allowing you back into baseball not because I don't think that you're sorry. I believe that you are very sorry, but allowing you back sets a dangerous precedent. You have gifts and experiences that other people haven't. You are uniquely qualified to speak to people about the consequences of the bad decision known as gambling. You can speak about how it affected your career, your social life, what it means to be forever banned from a sport you love, and how that has affected the years you've spent since you were affiliated with Major League Baseball. You could set up a not-for-profit organization that offers people a chance to call in and speak about their addictions, you can go to schools and probably make some decent money as a public speaker who knows firsthand what a bad decision can do to someone who must deal with the consequences of their actions.
Professional athletes are role models. They are people dealing with pressure that the rest of us can't understand or comprehend. To whom much has been given, much will be expected. I can forgive you for gambling, but I would not let you back into baseball because I believe that you are serving a just and fair sentence. You knew what the rules were and you knowingly broke them. This is just the voice of a single fan, but I would admire someone who announced that what they did was wrong, and that they no longer expect anything from baseball. I would respect that even if it was lip service because the action itself says something. There's no doubt in my mind that someone who played the way that you did will go to your deathbed wishing for entry to the Hall of Fame, but I don't think that will happen in your lifetime if it ever does. You can keep chasing what is perceived by many to be a futility, and perhaps there is a fourth alternative to the three I laid out earlier. You can keep asking to be allowed back into baseball while helping to raise awareness of how bad decisions can rob someone of hope and peace.
You may never read this, and that's okay. I understand that you're a busy guy, and I'm just another person on the internet writing about something that doesn't really affect me and isn't really any of my business either. It's shocking how people who have made decisions of their own that did not go well for them are quick to judge others. Rules get broken daily, a physician who is outraged by parents who won't vaccinate their children rolls through a stop sign, or speeds without thinking about how those actions could shorten and endanger the lives of others. No one should be sitting in condemnation of you, or anyone else on this planet, and it's a shame that so often people like me compare my strengths to the weaknesses of others. I have conquered past addictions only to get caught up in a new and different one. I love the thrill of betting, it isn't about the money for me. It's the idea the a big risk could turn into a monster reward. I forgive you for breaking rules, and I'd like that to be a message we can share with others. You are forgiven, but the consequences of your decisions are yours. Be gentle with yourself, learn from the mistakes of the past while continuing to make the future better for everyone.