HEAVEN -- The ramifications from Pete Rose's admission that he bet on games in which he participated continue.
In an unprecedented move, God called a press conference to announce that Rose's suspension from heaven has been lifted now that he has come clean about his betting. "Mr. Rose was not going to be allowed into Heaven until he confessed his sin. His recent disclosure has eliminated that hurdle," said The Supreme Being. Then followed a question and answer session, repeated here in its entirety.
GOD: Mr. Reasoner.
HARRY REASONER: Why are You having this press conference for this matter?
GOD: Pete asked Me to. He's the career leader in outs in the greatest game ever invented. How could I say no to him? Plus, I got a personalized autographed bat, ball and jersey. Pretty keen, huh? Mr. Sevareid.
ERIC SEVAREID: Does this mean that Pete Rose is sin free?
GOD: Heavens no! (laughter) All that this press conference concerns is his coming clean, admitting what he has admitted. If there are other impediments to his entry, that's between him and Me. Mr. Huntley.
CHET HUNTLEY: So gamblers have to confess before they can get into heaven?
GOD: No, no, no. This has nothing to do with gambling. Gambling isn't a sin, hell, they did it in The Bible! I even gamble myself from time to time. It's not pretty when I lose, either. Ever hear of the bubonic plague?
No, What's getting Pete off the hook with Me is clearing his lie from the record. I'm not keen on lying.
EDWARD R. MURROW: Just a minute, God. You mentioned The Bible. Does that mean that The Bible is Your Word?
GOD: Some of it is. So is some of the Qu'ran. So is some of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. So is some of your work, Mr. Murrow.... My Word can be found in many places.
MR. MURROW: Scientology?
GOD: Good Lord no! (laughter) Hubbard was a moron and a snake oil salesman. But please, let's stay on topic here. Mr. Brinkley.
DAVID BRINKLEY: Does this mean Mr. Rose will get into the Hall of Fame?
GOD: That's not My call. I deal with My rules, baseball has its own, and it's not My place to interfere with that. Mr. Jennings.
PETER JENNINGS: Do You think Mr. Rose is asking You to make this statement on his behalf to influence baseball? And aren't You concerned that Your action might be construed as endorsing him in some way?
GOD: Well, Pete's motives in asking Me to do this are, again, between him and Me. I was, frankly, concerned that My announcement might be misunderstood by some, that's why I called this conference and gave you the opportunity to ask these questions, to clear up any misconceptions. Therefore, let Me make this perfectly clear.
I am not intending to influence anyone in any way by making this statement. Baseball must make its own decision based on what it feels is best for baseball. Ms. Ivins. Oh, by the way, welcome, Ms. Ivins. I haven't had a chance to say hello yet.
MOLLY IVINS: It's my pleasure, believe me! (laughter)
Are You going to call any conferences of this nature in the future?
GOD: Stay tuned to find out. (laughter) Seriously, I don't know. We'll both find out if and when I do. Time for one more question. Ms. Thomas:
HELEN THOMAS: Why am I here? I'm not dead.
GOD: Are you sure? (looking closely) Damn, I guess you're not. My bad. Don't worry, I'll get you back where you belong, and look forward to seeing you again.
MS. THOMAS: Not too soon, I hope! (laughter)
GOD: That would be telling!
Let's wrap it up here. Thanks everyone for your help. Go and sin no more! (laughter)