LAS VEGAS — 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 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.

“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.

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.