In two wide-ranging interviews Monday, Pete Rose defended his involvement with a gaming app, faulted today’s baseball players, called distances to fences in ballparks like Philadelphia’s a “joke,” denied causing the death of commissioner Bart Giamatti, and said he hopes PED users get into the Hall of Fame.
“I wish that would happen,” he told Boomer Esaison and Craig Carton on New York’s WFAN. “If some way that would happen, it would enhance my opportunities.”
Rose, 73, holds the National League hit record with 4,256, but can’t even get on the Hall of Fame ballot because of a 1989 ban from baseball for illegal gambling.
“I wasn’t even suspended for betting on baseball,” said Rose, an all-star and World Series winner with both Cincinnati and Philadelphia. “ ... I have a signed agreement from the commissioner’s office, there is no finding I bet on baseball, and most people don’t know that.”
Still, he thinks he might not live to see his enshrinement at Cooperstown.
“If I’m ever given a second chance, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world,” Rose told Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney on their CBS SportsRadio morning show. “But I’m the one that screwed it up. They’ll probably wait until I’m gone like they did [Ron] Santo or some other guys.”
It’s been suggested that Rose’s hopes of eventual clemency were crushed by the death of commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti about one week after Rose accepted being put on baseball’s permanently ineligible list.
“I think Faye Vincent thinks I killed Bart Giamatti,” Rose said, referring to Giamatti’s successor. “Not the fact that he smoked five packs of cigarettes a day nor the fact that he was 70 pounds overweight. It was the stress he went through when he had to battle with me.”
Ex-NFL quarterback Esiason asked how Rose could hope for reinstatement while living in Las Vegas and promoting a new sports gaming app.
Rose explained the Vegas gig is at a mall, signing autographs, and vowed he never gambles at casinos. He became face of SportsBeep.com, a sports-fantasy app that apparently lets fans win prizes for predictions made during live events, because he had to support his families, he said.
At indiegogo.com, where the app is seeking $500,000 but has only raised $1,200, the theme song of a video includes the lyrics: “No, you can’t bet on baseball. Yes, you can bet on baseball. ... Bet on the Beep.”
Rose, who last month criticized Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, elaborated on the decline of the art of hitting.
“Guys just don’t take time to do their work today,” Rose told Barber and Tierney. “... They all have the same swing 2-0 as they have 0-2. They make no adjustments but it’s OK in the eyes of the owners to hit 30 home runs and strike out 150 times. I’ll give you $10 million. So I’d do it, too.”
Other Rose remarks to the national CBS show:
On being likened to another ineligible player: "There’s no comparison, because I bet on my own team to win. Shoeless Joe Jackson took money to throw World Series games."
On PEDs: “What I did is bad and PEDs is bad. What’s worse? I had nothing to do with altering the statistics of baseball, and the statistics of baseball are sacred.”
On amphetamines (which Phillies players were accused of using in the 1980s): “It’s not going to make you stronger, it’s not going to make you faster, it’s not going to make you produce any more or any less.... It’s like drinking three cups of coffee.”
On today’s short home-run distances: “When you play in Cincinnati, when you play in Camden Yards, when you play in Philadelphia, when you play in Yankee Stadium in right center, it’s a joke. It’s not really fair to pitchers. ... You can’t pitch.”
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.