CINCINNATI — On the eve of a day that may decide his baseball future, Pete Rose promised that he is not about to quit.
"People are taking polls about me resigning, well, you can forget about those polls, they can be 1,000 to 1 (in favor of resignation), and I'm still going to take out the lineup card as manager of the Cincinnati Reds," Rose said Saturday in his pregame "Rose Report" broadcast on a local radio station. "When you belong to something you love, you don't quit, and I love the Cincinnati Reds."
Rose's career could be decided in a courtroom today when Judge Norbert A. Nadel will issue a ruling on Rose's suit seeking to prevent baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti from holding a Monday hearing into the Red manager's alleged gambling activities. At noon, three hours before Cincinnati plays the Dodgers across town at Riverfront Stadium, Nadel will rule on Rose's request for a 14-day delay in the hearing. The request is the first step in a lawsuit that claims Giamatti, according to Rose's lawyers, "has prejudged the case and has been unfair and biased."
Baseball special investigator John Dowd testified last week that he filed a report to Giamatti containing substantial evidence that Rose bet heavily on baseball, including Red games, from 1985 through 1987. If Giamatti finds the evidence to be true, he could ban Rose from baseball for life.
Rose is attempting to end the commissioner's involvement in the decision, claiming that Giamatti has already made up his mind. Rose hopes to move the matter to a court of law.
If Nadel decides in favor of the temporary restraining order, Rose's lawyers will have two weeks to file for a permanent injunction that would permanently remove major league baseball's authority in this instance. Such an injunction would be a landmark ruling. Since 1920, the baseball commissioner's office has been the ultimate judge in the sport despite many legal challenges. If Nadel denies the order, Rose must face a hearing with Giamatti on Monday in New York, barring a last-minute appeal.
Either way, Rose seemed relaxed Saturday as the Dodgers were beating the Reds, 10-3. When asked if he would attend today's ruling at the Hamilton County Courthouse, he smiled and said: "I'm not going over there . . . hey, they don't have any air-conditioning."
When asked whether he was worried, he shrugged and said: "I know how I want it to come out, but that doesn't mean that's how it's going to come out. My guess is just as good as yours about what's going to happen. I'm confident, if they listened to everything we said. From the legal aspect, I think we've got a good chance."
Rose admitted, though, that he was unsure of his chances if forced to face Giamatti on Monday.
Rose said he hoped to take his mind off things by attending the movie, "Batman," Saturday night.
"Anything to get away from the damn phone," he said. "I can't even drive my car, because I've got a phone in the car. I've got to drive a truck."
Rose also said he was looking forward to watching an old-timers' game today that will precede the Red-Dodger game. Rose, 48, said he likes to watch old players.
"I like to watch old Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Jim Maloney," Rose said. "Me, I'm not ready for an old-timers' game."