Pete Rose made the Phillies look bad…because of course he did

Just when you thought Pete Rose couldn’t get more offensive, the Phillies let him out of his cave.

Appearing at an official Phillies event for the first time since receiving a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989, Rose, 81, received a rather welcome reception from fans as he stepped onto the field donning a clean, crisp powder blue No. 14 uniform.

It wasn’t until minutes later that he stained him forever with the insensitivity that gushed from his mouth.

He was first approached by Philadelphia plaintiff journalist Alex Coffey. She asked him what he thought about the idea that his presence at this event sends a negative message to women.

Here is how he responded:

Babe.

It might have been OK to say in 1967. Or 1980. Hell, maybe even as recently as, like 2010, it might have caught the eye and whispered comments, but wouldn’t have had a negative reaction.

Today? No bonus.

And that wouldn’t be a bueno for a regular guy like me or any of my colleagues here at Wide crossing. But what makes things worse coming from Rose is the “55 years ago” story he was referring to in his response to Coffey.

This story, which allegedly began when Rose was 34, so 49 years ago, in 1973, was an ongoing sexual relationship with an underage woman, who at the time was 14.

Rose admitted to having the relationship, but insisted she believed she was 16, which in Ohio is the legal age of consent.

That story came to light in 2017, the same year the Phillies previously tried to bring him out of hiding and welcome him to Philadelphia.

They planned to induct him into the team’s wall of fame, but canceled when these allegations arose.

Five years later, Rose again embarrassed the organization. And why? Why? Trying to sell a few extra tickets for a Sunday afternoon game in August?

It would have been nice if they had had him come over, wave to the crowd and leave. After all, he received a rather warm reception.

But then they made it available to the media. And that was after what he said to Coffey.

It started with some fluff about his comeback and how the fans made him feel (he said they made him feel good).

It was followed by a short chat about the game today, and for a brief moment you could almost put aside the feeling of your skin crawling as you listen to him talk about the sport. He is, admittedly, very engaging and almost a savant when he talks about the art of hitting — in this case, beating pitchers who pitch hard and hit on the shift.

But as quickly as he took this path, he became a crumb again.

The question came from intrepid AP reporter Dan Gelston, who, to be fair, is my age, and while we may not have been born in 1973, we arrived soon after.

But Pete’s dismissal of the allegations, just because they go back a long time, is what’s most troubling. The relationship was despicable. He was a sexual predator. It was statutory. But ignoring it because of when it happened and not taking ownership of the harm other than he “thought” she was of age is what infuriates so many people, not to mention the fact that the act, in itself, is infuriating enough.

The Phillies had to know these questions were coming, right? They had to know that Rose’s answers wouldn’t be right, right? So why even make it available for questions? This is a major error in judgement.

But wait, there’s more.

And it’s funny, because I recently participated in our Cross podcast and talked about how post-interview conversations go on all the time, and sometimes they’re a little controversial, but they’re supposed to be confidential.

It stemmed from the Jim Salisbury-Nick Castellanos spat that went viral when a 6ABC cameraman left his camera rolling after the interview ended and captured the spat on video, which was later shared on Twitter and viewed over 3.4 million times.

In this case, you don’t put it there. This is not a conversation for public consumption.

But what happened next to Rose, even if it should also be confidential, does not deserve such protection.

Rose, still sitting in her seat and still indignant as always, asked one of her handlers to bring Coffey over to try and resolve the “baby” comment from earlier.

The manager was trying to speak for Pete and kept saying, “You didn’t mean to offend him, did you?” When Rose said, “What did I call you?” as if he didn’t know.

Coffey told her that she had introduced herself as a journalist for the Applicant and that he called her “baby”.

His first response was, “They’re not going to throw me in jail for this.”

Coffey was in disbelief, as she should have been. Then Rose, still the huckster, said, “If I give you 1,000 (signed) bullets, will that make it any better?”

You can’t make this up.

Finally, he said he was sorry, while the manager repeatedly said he didn’t mean anything by the “baby” comment. Coffey simply nodded and walked away. She handled it with much more professionalism than others would have.

If only the Phillies had seen this coming. If only there was a track record they could have used as a guide. If only there was a check they could have done.

I am one of two people here at wide traverse who got to watch Pete Rose play baseball. It is with this position that I can argue that he was a Hall of Famer on the court.

But my age and experience don’t do me any good than anyone else to see that he’s also a Hall of Fame jerk, and that’s far more important than any accomplishments made while playing a sport.

Too bad the Phillies lost sight of that.

Comments are closed.