A Rose By Any Other Name …

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - September 27, 2006
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Much like the gopher that proved the undoing of Carl Spackler or that pesky rodent that keeps popping from its hole only to be whacked down by small children before re-emerging somewhere else, we have just not found a reliable antidote for Pete Rose. Although the Whack a Mole hammer option does have promise.

Playing the ultimate victim, Rose has consistently come up with one scheme or another to profit from something that for 15 years he claimed never happened. First he camped out down the street from the Hall of Fame to peddle his signature. QVC selling sprees followed, and then even more autograph sessions where for the right price Rose would even sign his own death certificate. Sure Pete had to earn a living, but at the same time he was determined to make sure baseball paid for tarnishing his spotless reputation. And if it took signing autographs in Cooperstown and Vegas for a few hundred dollars a pop, then so be it.

With the exception of a few sports talk shows, Pete went underground, waiting for the next economic brainstorm to spring him from his lair. It eventually came with not even a hint of remorse.

In My Prison Without Bars, Rose admitted to what the world had already known - that he committed baseball’s biggest sin by betting on the game. After all these years, Rose just came out with it. Yes, I bet on baseball, he said, now buy my book. Talk about a Charlie Hustle.

For years Rose said that if he were to admit to gambling people would just say he came clean to get into the Hall of Fame. Pete was right. It’s exactly what fans and commentators said. But what was also apparent was that Rose didn’t write the book in an effort to cleanse his soul. It was just another scam. He might as well have been selling fans on his idea to recover $15 million in lost funds from a Nigerian bank.

A week ago it was reported that Pete had signed 303 baseballs for a Cooperstown collector with the inscription, “Sorry I bet on baseball, Pete Rose.” The number of balls corresponded to his career batting average. Of those signed balls, 30 were to be sold, along with other sports memorabilia, by the family of a former limited partner of the New York Yankees who owned the balls. The balls were hoped to be sold for $1,000 each at auction. Of course, indignation arose from the announced sale, but Rose tempered the outrage by saying he would not profit from their sale - at least not directly or immediately. It would take at least two whole days for similar balls to show up for sale on his web-site.

By logging on to peterose.com, you too can have a signed confessional ball by the all-time hit king. At only $299 plus shipping it’s cheaper than going through the auction house, and for $50 more you can get it personalized!

Shopping is easy. Beneath the big red-and-black banner announcing the sale is this quaint little caption: “Now you can get the baseball collectible everyone’s talking about - Pete Rose’s personal apology for betting on baseball newly inscribed on an actual baseball - at a fantastic price!”

One of the saddest things about the Pete Rose saga is that even at this late hour, he still seems unable to show any remorse, or really to acknowledge any responsibility for his actions. Rose actually believes it when he says no one would be a better spokesman for the game than he.

Maybe Pete is delusional, or maybe he thinks he’s simply bigger than the game. Whatever the reason, for the last 20 years Rose has done nothing but embarrass himself and the game he supposedly loves.

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