Pete Rose to speak to award-winning high school athletes

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It’s been quite a week for Pete Rose so far. Yesterday the Reds announced that Rose will be inducted into their team Hall of Fame and will have his number retired this year, bypassing the usual election process. Probably because he’d be no sure thing to be elected under the usual procedures. But hey, you do such things for legends. ESPECIALLY in years when you know your team is going to stink and you want a guaranteed sellout on some day in June when you might only otherwise draw 16,257 fans, many disguised as seats.

Today we learn that Rose will get another honor of sorts: He will be the speaker at the inaugural Cincinnati Enquirer Greater Cincinnati High School Sports Awards, which honors All-Star high school athletes from southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky, as chosen by the Enquirer.

The athletes being honored get in to the dinner ceremony free. Their guests have to pay $50 a head. I’m sure getting a famous speaker like Pete Rose will help up the head count for the banquet, especially when you realize that it’s really for the paying guests, not the students, almost all of whom were born a decade after Rose was banished from the game. But hey, it’s for a noble cause:

The reason for the new awards is simple: High school athletics are central to life in our public, private and Catholic schools and in our communities. Whether it be Friday night at the football field or a Tuesday night in the gym for a girls basketball matchup, interscholastic sports promote achievement in our young people and passion among students, parents and alumni.

And who better to celebrate and speak about achievement and passion in youth sports than a guy who was banned from the sport he loves more than anything else in the world for unscrupulous behavior.