Pete Rose is ever the optimist:

Pete Rose thinks that he might finally have his foot in Major League Baseball’s door.

“Hopefully this will be a great exhibit and a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot of people will come see it,” Rose said during a Tuesday teleconference. “I think that would probably give baseball another reason to reinstate me, because, you know, I made some mistakes, and I was wrong, but a lot of people feel I’ve paid for those mistakes.

“I’ve been suspended 17 years already, and it’s getting late.”

In March, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame will open an exhibit dedicated to Rose, baseball’s hits king who spent 19 of his 24 professional baseball seasons with the Reds. Rose and his supporters hope it will be the first step in his return to baseball, from which he accepted a lifetime ban in 1989 for gambling.

Rose has fought to return to baseball despite mixed feelings from fans throughout the country. His ultimate goal, he said, is to enter baseball’s Hall of Fame and once again manage in the big leagues, as he did for the Reds from 1984-89.

“They’ll give them chances to do drugs, they’ll give them chances if they beat their wives and they’ll give them chances if they drink excessively,” Rose said. “So, why wouldn’t they give a guy a chance who had a gambling situation many, many years ago?”

What do you think?