pete rose getty

Quote of the Day: Pete Rose on the PED cheaters


There are actually a couple of good quotes from Pete Rose in this story from Ted Berg at USA Today. A lengthy one about how, in his view, the PED stuff is bad because it messes with stats and records and that, unlike what he did, what Ryan Braun and the PED cheats have done would “piss off Babe Ruth” and other milestone holders.

Like we’ve said a lot around here, I’m pretty sure that’s what angers people about the PED stuff the most. And what makes people consider PEDs to be a bigger problem in baseball than other sports, even though it’s not at all clear that that is the case. And even though it’s probably the least significant thing about PEDs in baseball.

But the quote I like the most is this one:

“If baseball wants to get you, they’ve got enough resources and enough investigators that they’ll find a way to get you.”

He knows, obviously.

But if you read this whole interview you get the sense that Rose is not merely making a passive observation about the investigative power of MLB. You get the sense that he’s trying to float a narrative about what he did vs. what the PED guys have done which puts him in a better light and maybe, just maybe, gets baseball to think about his case again.

I bet, after a lot of baseball writers get a crack at Rose in Cooperstown over the next three days, we’ll see that argument being made.

Tim McCarver says that MLB frowns on its broadcasters acknowledging Pete Rose’s existence

pete rose getty

I missed this in all of the All-Star stuff, but Tim McCarver was on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday and said that Major League Baseball restricts Fox and ESPN (and presumably TBS) from showing video of Pete Rose. Via Awful Announcing, here’s the relevant snippet:

This during the same week where we noticed that MLB likes to deny the existence of the embarrassing 2002 All-Star Game as well. They rectified that, but it’s not a particularly flattering trait if the league just assumes that, if they don’t acknowledge it, bad stuff goes away.

And heck, in this case it’s not even bad stuff. Pete Rose may have committed a mortal baseball sin when he was the manager of the Reds, but his playing career was amazing and memorable. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a player who defined 1960s-70s baseball more than Pete Rose did. To just airbrush-away his existence as if it were the Soviet Central Committee after a purge is pretty stupid and, frankly, insulting. Does the league think we’ll forget Pete Rose exists if they lean on their rights holders to not show him?

If I run Major League Baseball, I don’t run and hide from my sport’s history. I embrace it like nobody’s business. All of it. Because the bad stuff goes hand-in-hand with the good stuff. If we pretend the Black Sox didn’t happen we forget why we have a Commissioner in the first place. If we pretend the 2002 All-Star Game doesn’t happen we forget why, since then, the All-Star Game determines home field advantage.  If we pretend Pete Rose didn’t dominate baseball for over 20 years we forget that the rules against gambling are so important that even a towering figure like Rose is subject to them.

And if that’s too abstract a line of reasoning, let’s go simpler: if I’m Fox or ESPN and I’m paying Major League Baseball billions of dollars for the rights to show games and promote its sport, I’m promoting all of it, not just the stuff that isn’t embarrassing to some nervous nellies in the league office.

Pete Rose is not a fan of the unwritten rules

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He’s not a fan of any rules, actually, but those unwritten ones really bug him:

On the unwritten rules of baseball:
I used to get screwed when we had a seven- or eight-run lead, because I couldn’t bunt for a single or I’m “showing up the opposition.” … Guys that are home run hitters can continuously just swing from their ass and trot around the bases. I remember one time we had a 7-1 lead in the sixth inning in Houston, and J.R. Richard was pitching. I hit a single to right-center and I went to second. He threw at the next two hitters because I was showing the team up! What am I supposed to do when I got a 10-run lead, just go up there and strike out?

On Ben Davis breaking up Curt Schilling’s perfect-game attempt in 2001 with a bunt single:
[The unwritten rules] are stupid. Who cares if you bunt for a base hit? The only guys who criticize him on that are losers. Now if it had been 10-1, maybe. But down 2-0? I’d bunt, too.

That comes from Jonah Keri’s interview of the Hit King over at Grantland. It’s a good read — I love the Bob Gibson anecdote — and a good reminder that for as bad as Rose can make himself appear at times, the dude knows baseball.

And I am 100% on board with him with that unwritten rule garbage.  When the other side quits playing, fine, you quit playing too. Until then, suck it up.

Pete Rose shows off his acting chops in local television ad


TLC canceled Pete Rose’s reality show after (or perhaps more accurately during) Season 1, so now Rose and his fiancee have moved on to starring in local television ads in Cincinnati:

After watching that, try to imagine how many takes were required to get that level of performance.

Wanna buy Pete Rose’s corked bat?

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Though long rumored, it was three years ago that it was confirmed that Pete Rose used a corked bat during his pursuit of Ty Cobb’s hit record in 1985. That bat is going up for auction if you’re interested. From the description:

This bat comes with the letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA, the actual X-ray showing the hole and foreign matter and a copy of the September 1985 Beckett Baseball Card Monthly clearly showing Pete holding this same bat. Pete has signed the cover in silver ink: “Pete Rose Veterans Stadium 7/4/85 – 7/7/85”.

Bidding starts on Monday. There’s a $2,500 minimum. I’m sure it will go for far more.

I touched on all of this three years ago when the bat’s existence came to light, but I still wonder why so many people who excoriate HGH users as cheaters don’t do the same for Rose and other bat corkers. I am aware of the studies which show that corking a bat likely doesn’t help a hitter and may actually be detrimental, but the same goes for taking HGH, which has been shown in multiple studies to confer no physical or athletic benefit to otherwise healthy athletes.

But HGH is against the rules and is therefore cheating, and this is why people care. So too is corking a bat, however. And we rarely treat these transgressions the same. Obviously Rose has other issues, but if those were gone, I’m sure the bat corking would not have impeded his path to the Hall of Fame.