Well, its induction weekend at Cooperstown and as usual Pete Rose finds his way into the news. Funny thing about the timing of this annual coincidence. This year though it’s much more than “Charlie Hustle” just setting up a table on Main Street signing No. 14 memorabilia. No…..this is BIG! TLC has announced that it is planning to air five episodes of “Pete Rose and Kiana Kim Family Project” later this year. That’s the “working” title for the show. In case you were unaware, Kiana Kim is Pete’s fiancé and a former Playboy model. He’s 71, has four adult kids (from two previous marriages), and lives and works in Las Vegas…..where else. She’s 32, has two young children, and resides in Los Angeles. Yeah, that should definitely work out. “It’s NOT going to be class-less like a lot of other reality shows”, says Rose. “It’s going to be funny, entertaining, and real.” Upcoming shows will chronicle don’t-miss-TV events like the family’s trip to Cooperstown, Kim’s breast reduction, and some of Pete’s kids opposing their father’s impending nuptials. Please tell me that this type of never-ending nonsense is all going to stop one day soon, and he’ll be reinstated so he can rightfully be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Nobody in the history of baseball has more hits, more at-bats, and has played in more games than Pete Rose. He’s also baseball’s all-time leader in starving for attention. He played 24 seasons for three different teams (19 years with the Reds). He was NL Rookie-of-the-Year in 1963, a 3-time batting and World Series champion, and a 17-time All-Star (at a record FIVE different positions). After he retired, he managed the Reds for six years (1984-89). In 1989, Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball….but it wasn’t until 2004 that he finally admitted to gambling…..never AGAINST the Reds though. (I hope we can believe that). Yes, I realize it’s the rule…..“No Gambling on Baseball” posted on every clubhouse wall. But you must also realize that Hall of Fame voters have seen fit to induct admitted alcoholics, drug abusers, wife-beaters, murderers, game-fixers, cheaters (ball-doctoring), racists, and maybe one of the worst known human beings of all-time…..Ty Cobb. Nonetheless, they were all voted into the Hall because they deserve to be there for what they accomplished on the field….as does Rose!
He has twice applied for reinstatement (1992 and 1997), but the Commissioners at the time never responded. No doubt this “reality show” will embarrassingly be used as yet another vehicle for his mission toward reinstatement……unlikely to happen until Bud Selig is gone. Except for his participation during the All-Century Team introductions in 1999 (selected as an outfielder by fan vote and where, as you may recall, he received the loudest ovation), Rose has been prohibited from participating in any MLB, League, or even local team sanctioned event. For a man who still lives and breathes baseball every day, this kind of treatment is merciless!
When the new reality show does air, “people will get a chance to see what kind of a personality I have. When I took the cleats off, I became a down-to-earth guy”, states Rose. Those that have seen him signing, greeting, and freely conversing with fans walking into the Las Vegas sports collectible store where he has worked for the last eight years would I’m sure agree with this statement. Coming this fall will also be a new ESPN series called 30 for 30 Shorts, and a story on Pete at this Las Vegas store is included (“Pete Rose Here Now”). Rose was and is a gambling addict and has never been mistaken as a Rhodes Scholar, but he IS a decent person who played the game of baseball like no one else. His three pieces of advice: Be aggressive, be MORE aggressive, and NEVER be satisfied, very simply describe the way he played the game and what he is all about. As he says, “nobody has played in more winning games (1,972) than me!” Pete Rose is a winner. As far as his upcoming reality show goes……..that’s another matter altogether.
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