Ichiro Suzuki
Associated Press

Pete Rose is upset that some people are counting Ichiro’s hits from Japan

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In the recaps this morning I mentioned that Ichiro Suzuki is one hit away from catching Pete Rose in career hits. Now, to be fair, he will not be officially recognized as the all-time hit leader by Major League Baseball because 1,278 of his hits came in Japan, with 2,977 coming in the United States. Still, reaching 4,256 career hits — Rose’s number — is pretty impressive all the same.

As Bob Nightengale reports in USA Today, Ichiro matching Rose is a big, big deal in Japan. Reporters are following the chase and Marlins games are being broadcast in Japan as his fans from his home country watch his every swing. Nightengale likewise talks to some major leaguers like Mark Grace who are rightly impressed with Ichiro’s feat, official record or not. As I said in the recaps today, it is impressive, so yeah.

But one guy isn’t impressed. Charlie Hustle:

It sounds like in Japan,’’ Rose told USA TODAY Sports, “they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.

Rose goes on to say that the caliber of play and players in NPB is not as good as the bigs. Which, overall, is true. Still, you never heard Hank Aaron throwing shade at Sadaharu Oh, did you? Variations in overall level of play aside — and the variations aren’t as big as some think — it’s worth marveling at Ichiro’s career all the same, is it not?

Eh, it’s Pete Rose. He’s not the best person to go to if you’re looking for a perspective that isn’t filtered through “Everything Pete Rose says and does is right” glasses.

Salty

 

Pete Rose says no one ever told him not to gamble on baseball anymore

Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose poses while taping a segment for Miami Television News on the campus of Miami University, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Associated Press
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Pete Rose will soon be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame and have his number retired and all of that jazz. To mark the occasion, Cincinnati Magazine interviewed the Hit King. And, for, like, the 4.256th straight time, Rose shows that he’s in complete denial about why he was banned in 1989 and why he was not reinstated last year when Rob Manfred agreed to review his case:

In this time of limbo after the ban, did you worry about your legacy? I normally don’t ever worry about anything that I’m not in control of. I wasn’t in control of anything in that situation. I went through a period when I got suspended where I didn’t even go to the ballpark. It’s not because I didn’t want to. There were so many restrictions on me, I just didn’t want to put people through that. It didn’t feel good to me.

Sure he wasn’t in control of anything. He was a tiny boat, cast out onto the waves, left to drift in a sea of uncertainty and powerlessness.

But it gets better. Rose was asked about how he changed his life after his ban:

But you still bet on baseball, albeit legally. It seems like the commissioner’s office has taken issue with that fact. Have you considered not betting on baseball anymore? That’s a good point. You remember reading about Bart Giamatti telling me to reconfigure my life? OK, no one has ever told me—including Manfred, including Selig—what does that mean? I guess my point is, just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it. I’m in control. Just tell me. If I want to bet on Monday Night Football, and that’s the way I enjoy my life, why is everybody so worried about that? I’m 75 years old, I have to be able to have some form of entertainment. I’m not betting out of my means. It’s not illegal. If you don’t want me to bet on baseball or anything else, just tell me.

If they told you that— I’d do it. Absolutely. But no one has ever explained “reconfigure your life.” I have taken responsibility for it. I have apologized for it. I have shown I’m sorry. But there again, no matter how many times you say you’re sorry, not everybody’s going to hear you. All I can do is imagine what they meant when they said reconfigure my life. And evidently, no one’s willing to tell me what that means.

So it was all a big misunderstanding. A man who was in his late 40s was banned for gambling on baseball and was told to straighten up yet he had no idea, for 26 years, that maybe it’d be a good idea for him to not gamble on baseball anymore in order to get back into the good graces of the folks who banned him. Damn, why did they pose such impossible riddles to him! If only he had a clue as to what sort of behavior would have improved his chances!

But really, guys: Rose is ready to stop betting on baseball. All you have to do is tell him. If he had known before now, well, we’d be having a TOTALLY different conversation, I’m sure.

Check out this baseball Pete Rose signed for Donald Trump

Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose poses while taping a segment for Miami Television News on the campus of Miami University, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Playing to the Ohio crowd at a town hall in West Chester Township on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stumped for Pete Rose’s inclusion in baseball’s Hall of Fame. “We’ve got to let Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame,” the business mogul said.

Rose, ostensibly feeling gracious, signed a baseball for Trump. It said, “Mr. Trump, Please Make America Great Again.”