I'm glad the commissioner is letting you celebrate 4,192 in Cincinnati among the most loyal fans on earth.
I want you to know that this is your last, best chance to make things right.
When you lied about gambling, we stood by you. I personally spent more than a decade defending you. I was 12 when you were suspended. I was crushed. I was angry. Even after you finally admitted that you had lied to all of us, I remained willing to forgive you and move on. You haven't shown much humanity in the whole process. Every time you talk about the gambling and the lies, we all still feel like you are trying to sell us something.
Please, Pete. This is your moment of redemption.
When you step out onto the field for the ceremony, address your fans. The Cincinnati faithful treat you like family, Pete. We WANT to forgive you. We want the chance to embrace you and let the past be gone.
Address your fans with humility and gratitude. Tell us:
"I'm so sorry I lied to you. I made a mess of my life. I don't deserve your loyalty and your love. Please forgive me. I hurt the game I love, the fans I love, and the city I love, and I'll regret it and bear that shame forever. Thank you, Cincinnati for sticking with me all these years. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thanks for honoring me today. If this is as close as I ever get to Cooperstown, it's close enough for me."
Pete, at this point, I don't even care if you mean it. You deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because what you did after you retired doesn't change what you did when you played. Selig is looking for an excuse to let you back in. This is your chance. Don't blow it. Be contrite, humble, and say you are sorry. Muster up more class and humanity than you've ever shown in the past two decades and make things right between us.
If you truly want to get into Cooperstown, this is your best shot. Say these things in the right way, and you'll have an army of Reds fans ready to bash the doors down for you.
Cincinnati will forgive you...Cincinnati WANTS to forgive you, but first you have to say you are sorry.
Please, Pete. You get to step on the diamond again. There was never any question where you stood between the lines.
Make things right between the lines.