Pete Rose is back in professional baseball -- for one game anyway.
Rose, who still is serving a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball, will return to the dugout to manage the independent league Bridgeport Bluefish for one day.
The Bluefish, who play in the Atlantic League, announced Saturday that Rose will serve as their manager on June 16 against the Lancaster Barnstormers.
"I'm doing this because I love baseball," Rose said during a conference call Saturday. "I love young players because they bring you one thing you need in sports -- enthusiasm. These young men are here working their butts off. They don't have egos -- they are hungry. They run hard and they play hard, all the time."
Bluefish general manager Ken Shepard referred to Rose's one-game managerial return as "one of the biggest and [most] influential announcements in not only franchise history, but in professional baseball in the last 25 years."
"The Atlantic League was created to be a league of second chances," Shepard said.
The Bluefish are not affiliated with any teams in Major League Baseball. Bridgeport manager Willie Upshaw, who played parts of 10 seasons in the majors, has agreed to assume a coaching role while Rose manages the Bluefish on June 16.
"I will tell each of the players in the clubhouse a few things before the game," Rose said Saturday. "I will look at each of them and say that every one of you guys has more ability right now than I did at 18 years old. I was told that I was too slow, didn't have a strong arm, and didn't have power, but I got an opportunity and I worked the rest of it out."
Rose, 73, has not managed a professional team since 1989, when he was banned by MLB for gambling on games while playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds.
After denying the accusations for nearly two decades, Rose publicly admitted to the gambling charges in 2004. The majors' all-time hits leader with 4,256 career hits, Rose has remained ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"I outworked people, out-hustled people, and had more determination," Rose said. "You have to prepare yourself right and the rest will take care of itself. You set your mind right, and winning will fall into place and there is no better motivation than to win. It's why you play the game -- to win. Use this second-chance opportunity in this talented league and think big."