LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Pete Rose believes he still has a chance to one day get back in baseball. In the meantime, he's turning his attention to the Hall of Fame.
Rose said Tuesday he is a changed person even if he still likes to bet on an occasional baseball game. And while commissioner Rob Manfred rejected his bid to get back in the game partly because Rose still bets legally in this gambling town, he says he still has a lot to offer the sport.
"All I look forward to being some day is a friend of baseball," Rose said. "I want baseball and Pete Rose to be friends. I want to say I'm not an outsider looking in. I have grandkids, and they want their grandpa to be associated with baseball."
Baseball's career hits leader said he was disappointed at Manfred's decision not to end a ban that has stretched more than a quarter century. But he held out hope he could still one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining teammates such as Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan from the Big Red Machine of the 1970s.
"It would be nice to have the opportunity to go to the Hall of Fame," Rose said. "My whole life has been a Hall of Fame life just by the association with the teammates I had."
At a news conference fronting his restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip, Rose said he couldn't rewrite history but still believes even at age 74 that he can one day be back in baseball. He said he was sorry for his mistakes of the past, which included betting on games while with the Cincinnati Reds at a time he said his gambling habit was out of control.
Those days are over, he said, though he still bets on sports and horse racing.
Pete Rose through the years
Pete Rose contrite, holds out hope for Hall of Fame
Pete Rose, 22-year-old second baseman of the Cincinnati Reds, is seen on February 27, 1963. (AP Photo)
PITTSBURGH, PA - 1965: Infielder Pete Rose, of the Cincinnati Reds, poses for a portrait prior to a game in 1965 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Pete Rose looks up after being called out at second base by umpire Bob Burkhart in a game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, July 27, 1968. (Photo by Barton Silverman/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
Cincinnati's Pete Rose watched the ball said toward the right field bleachers in fourth inning of twi-nighter nightcap on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1969 against the Dodgers in Cincinnati. When (right) he trotted across the plate and was greeted by Woody Woodward, who was on base. Rose had six hits in ten at bats in the twin bill and at 344 is only two points behind National League batting leader Cleon Jones, of the New York Mets. Reds won both games 6-3 and 5-2. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose won his second consecutive batting crown last season in the National League with a .348 average March 7, 1970 in Clearwater, Florida. Winner of many top honors, Rose was named team captain by new manager Sparky Anderson. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this July 14, 1970, file photo, National League's Pete Rose, left, is hugged by his teammate Dick Dietz while American League's catcher Ray Fosse lies injured on the ground, after Rose crashed into him to score the game-winning run for the National League team, in the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game, in Cincinnati. Fosse's body still aches all over 45 years later. He never did fully recover physically from one of most infamous plays in All-Star Game history when he was bulled over by Pete Rose. (AP Photo/File)
CINCINNATI - UNDATED: Outfielder Pete Rose #14 of the Cincinnati Reds walks alone down a vacant corridor at Riverfront Stadium during the 1970s in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Pete Rose of the Cincinnatti Reds holds bat as he talks to the press prior to workout at Shea Stadium before the fourth playoff game, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1973 in New York. He was in a collision with Bud Harrelson during a double play that precipitated a brawl. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Pete Rose, left, reaches for the throw from center field as Pirates shortstop Frank Taveras dives safely into third during sixth inning action in Pittsburgh, Monday, June 8, 1976. Play came when Taveras stole second, took third on the catcher's throwing error, and scored when the ball got away from Rose. The Pirates won it 5-4. (AP Photo)
Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds slides head first, feet in the air, as he races the ball for third base with a seventh inning triple at Shea Stadium in New York, Friday, August 13, 1976. New York Mets third baseman Roy Staiger, (right) awaits the late throw from rightfielder Mike Vail. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)
Cincinnati Reds player Pete Rose (14) poses with his son, Pete Rose Jr., at the All-Star game in New York City on July 19, 1977. (APhoto)
Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds is shown during action in Philadelphia, May 3, 1978. He singled to left field which put him three hits away from 3,000. He later got another hit and needs two on Friday to get 3,000. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose, left, talks with Minnesota Twins Rod Carew on Monday, July 11, 1978 in San Diego, where both were working out for Tuesday All-Star game. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Pete Rose tips his cap to the crowd after hitting in his 44th straight game to tie Willie Keeler's 44-game hitting streak set in 1987. The hit came in the 6th inning at the Atlanta Fulton County Stadium on Monday, night, July 31, 1978. (AP Photo/Steve Helber )
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 9: Pete Rose #14 of the Philadelphia Phillies along with his son Pete Rose Jr. exercise during spring training on March 9, 1979 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
Phillies' Pete Rose looks to the plate umpire as he calls himself safe scoring from first base on a double by Greg Luzinski in the 4th innig on Tuesday, July 4, 1979 game in Philadelphia. Phillies won 4-2 over the New York Mets. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
Philadelphia Phillies Pete Rose grins as he peers past World Series Championship trophy during victory rally following parade watched by more than half a million cheering fans in Philadelphia Wednesday, Oct. 23, 1980. The Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals to win their first World Series. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
FILE - In this June 3, 1981 file photo, Philadelphia Phillies' Pete Rose dives headfirst for third base during a baseball game against the New York Mets in Philadelphia. Even Rose, the man who made the headfirst slide fashionable, says there's a time and place to be prudent. As in, no need to get your nose bashed in at home plate. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy, File)
Phillies Pete Rose chew the bill of his cap on Wednesday night, June 11, 1981 after returning to dugout following his third strike out in game against the Houston Rockets in Philadelphia. Rose tied Stan Musial's career National League hitting record at 3,630 in first inning, but was unable to break the record in the next three times at the plate. (AP Photo/Shane)
Phillies Pete Rose watches in disbelief as umpire Joe West ruled a foul ball instead of a wild pitch with Rose at bat in a game against the Cubs in Philadelphia, Tuesday, night, on Sept. 21, 1983. A wild pitch would have allowed Ivan DeJesas to score from third base. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Pete Rose gestures as he talks to reporters at a press conference in Philadelphia Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1983 where it was announced that the Phillies ball club would not renew his contract for next year. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Cincinnati Reds batter Pete Rose waves one finger as he celebrates at first base after singling in the first inning of the game to break Ty Cobb's record on in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sept. 11, 1985. (AP Photo/Charles Robinson)
Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose tips his cap to acknowledge applause from fans on a day of tribute to Pete Rose prior to the Philadelphia Phillies game at Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia, Sunday, July 6, 1986. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Pete Rose is seen in 1988, location unknown. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose talks with members of the press following the Cardinals-Reds baseball game Friday, May 12, 1989 in St. Louis. Rose had nothing to say about the National League's investigation into his suspected gambling activities. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose bites his tongue Wednesday, June 22, 1989, during his team's two losses to the Atlanta Braves in a doubleheader at Atlanta. The Braves won the first game, 4-3, the second 1-0. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)
Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose enters Riverfront Stadium Thursday, August 24, 1989 prior to his press conference. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
Former Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose answers questions during an interview in Cincinnati Thursday, Nov. 10, 1989. Riverfront Stadium, home of the National League club, is visible in the background. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Former Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose smiles during a press conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 23, 1991. Rose announced that he had finished his community service for cheating on his income taxes. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Former Cincinnati Reds player Pete Rose signs a bat at the autograph show in New York on Saturday, March 9, 1991. The man at right is unidentified. (AP Photo/Mike Albans)
Baseball great Pete Rose talks to reporters at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia Thursday, June 19, 1997. Rose, whose gambling got him banned from baseball in 1989, said Thursday he feels his induction into the Hall of Fame is inevitable. Rose returned to the city where he helped the Phillies win the World Series in 1980, to sign autographs at an annual Phillies-sponsored charity event. (AP Photo/ George Widman)
Major League Baseball's all-time hit leader, Pete Rose, ponders a moment before answering a question from the media during a news conference prior to the weather-delayed Celebrity Old-Timers Classic baseball game at Dunn Tire Park in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday, July 15, 2000. (AP Photo/Don Heupel)
Baseball player Pete Rose speaks during a news conference organized by the sport brand Pony in Beverly Hills, Calif., Tuesday, May 14, 2002. Rose, who holds the Major League Baseball record for most hits with 4,256, is not in the Hall of Fame. Pony announced the launch of an advertisement campaign based on questioning what they call "the greatest sports injustice of all time." Featured in the ads are Pete Rose and football players Jack Tatum and Kenny Stabler, none of whom are in their respective sports' Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Pete Rose stands on the field at Cinergy Field, Monday, Sept. 23, 2002, in Cincinnati. For the first time since 1986, Rose will step into the batter's box at Cinergy Field and take his hacks in a celebrity softball game to mark the stadium's closing. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Pete Rose signs copies of his new book 'Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars,' in New York, Friday, Jan. 9, 2004. In the book, Rose repeatedly challenges the report on his gambling by John Dowd and the accusations made by his former associates before he accepted a lifetime ban in August 1989.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Pete Rose talks to members of the media during a news conference at the opening of an exhibit about him at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Museum in Cincinnati Tuesday, March 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Former Major League Baseball player Steve Garvey, left, throws out the ceremonial first pitch along with Pete Rose at Steve Garvey's Celebrity Softball Game for ALS Research (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Saturday, July 10, 2010, in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2010, file photo, former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose stands on first base as he acknowledges the crowd during ceremonies celebrating the 25th anniversary of Rose breaking Ty Cobb's hit record prior to a baseball game between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in Cincinnati. Rose may have a role to play in next year's All-Star game in Cincinnati despite his lifetime ban from baseball. The career hits leader generally is not allowed in any areas of major league ballparks not open to fans. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
Former Major League Baseball player Pete Rose, left, gives an autographed baseball to National Underground Freedom Center CEO Donald Murphy, right, during a reception before speaking at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center's inagural gala at the Freedom Center, Saturday, May 14, 2011, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
Former major league baseball player Pete Rose sits ringiside during a boxing event in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose, left, talks with Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, right, after pre-game ceremonies during Joe Morgan Weekend at Great American Ball Park, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 069 -- Pictured: (l-r) Baseball legend Pete Rose during an interview with host Seth Meyers on July 14, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 13: A Cincinnati Reds fan displays a sign in support of former Red Pete Rose during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Great American Ball Park on August 13, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Pete Rose visits with members of the Washington Wild Things in their dugout before a Frontier League baseball game against the Lake Erie Crushers in Washington, Pa, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Rose coach each baseline for a half inning for the Wild Things after which fans could pay for an autograph and to have their picture take with him. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Former player and manager Pete Rose waves to the crowd prior to the 86th MLB All-Star Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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"I don't live in Las Vegas because I gamble," he said. "I live in Las Vegas because it's where my job is. I'm a recreational gambler now. If I want to go home and watch a game, I might make a small wager on it."
Rose was contrite and somewhat upbeat in offering his first comments since Manfred on Monday rejected his application for reinstatement. But he refused to be drawn into the debate of whether players linked to steroids should be allowed in the Hall of Fame when anyone on the permanently excluded list - Rose is currently the only living person on it - cannot be on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Rose said he believes Manfred will be a great commissioner, but that Manfred was put in a tough spot in having to rule on Rose's reinstatement 26 years into a lifetime ban. He also said his meeting with Manfred earlier this year - where he first denied still betting on baseball and then admitted he did - could have gone better.
"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."
He also would not comment on Manfred's decision to keep him out of baseball partly because he still does gamble on baseball while at the same time Major League Baseball has a stake in the daily fantasy site DraftKings.
"You can make that evaluation. I'm not a DraftKings guy. I'm not an online guy," said Rose, who had 4,256 hits in a career that stretched from 1963-86. "I just try to have fun and live my life and have some enjoyable moments."
Rose spoke on an outdoor patio fronting the 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.
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.
"He has been punished and he has been punished severely from being banned from the sport he loves," attorney Mark Rosenbaum said, noting that other players with character flaws have gotten in the Hall of Fame. "It is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Saints."
Rose agreed to the ban in August 1989 after an investigation for Major League Baseball by lawyer John Dowd found Rose placed numerous bets on the Reds to win from 1985-87 while playing for and managing the team.
The ban prevents Rose from working for any major league team or minor league affiliate, but he is allowed to make ceremonial appearances with the commissioner's permission and may work for third parties such as Fox, which hired Rose this year as a baseball analyst.
"I'm in control of my life now," Rose said. "I watch baseball, talk on Fox and talk baseball to anyone who wants to talk about it."
Rose acknowledged he hasn't always been in control of his life, including a period in the late 1980s when he said he gambled way too much. He still likes to place bets, he said, but they are not for big money and are perfectly legal in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas.
He's at peace with Manfred's decision, he said, but still yearns for a relationship with the game he has loved all his life.
He is, said Rose, not a complicated person.
"I'm a baseball player. I'm a baseball person," he said. "That's never going to change."