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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

"Hits and Mrs.": Pete Rose goes reality show

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Charlie Hustle is still at it.

Pete Rose, his significant other, and her two kids are the subject of a TLC reality TV show debuting next month.  "Hits and Mrs."--get it?--will give us an in-depth look at baseball's disgraced all-time hits leader and the latest edition of what's passing for his family.

Throughout a New York Post article on the show, Rose makes references to his baseball estrangement and his ban from the Hall of Fame.   Yes, it's sad that the man with more hits than any other baseball player doesn't have a plaque at Cooperstown, but that is an issue of Rose's own doing.   He gambled on the game--denied it for years, in fact, before finally coming clean.   Much as this fan loved to watch the Rose brand of baseball in Cincinnati, Philadelphia and even Montreal, the fact that he violated the game's most cardinal rules makes enshrinement a non-starter.

And, the cynic in me says this whole reality show gambit is just one more try at winning back the public's good graces, to create a ground swell that ends with baseball recanting its ban and Rose ending up on the Cooperstown lawn some summer afternoon in the future.  

Time was when Oprah Winfrey's couch was the nation's confessional--answer "O's" tough questions about past misdeeds and watch your comeback begin.   Now, you re-invent yourself in "reality" television where what you see is anything but "real".  Such a venue gives Rose a chance to make his case, paint himself as a victim, plink audience heartstrings, and make a case for one last victory lap at the Hall.   It gives him the kind of national platform he can't be signing baseballs at Vegas hotels.  And, Rose is always eager to keep fanning the reinstatement flames, while continually making Commissioner Bud Selig sound like the bad guy, the only obstacle to Rose's quest for a Cooperstown plaque.

Which I'm guessing is what this whole TLC gambit is about: Selig's contract runs out in 2014 and indications are that he will then call it quits, at least if you believe and former Journal/Sentinel columnist Mike Baumann, who has covered Allen-call-me-Bud for decades.  Rose kicks his personal rehab project into high gear just as his biggest perceived impediment is heading for the professional off-ramp.   Coincidence?   Don't think so.

Pete Rose was one of the best to play the game--no doubt about it.   And, his backers will point out that the Hall is full of players with massive character flaws.   Cooperstown still has to deal with the steroid era--maybe Charlie Hustle figures those crimes against the game will diminish his, perhaps distract his detractors and allow him back-door entrance.

Not to speak for the Commish, but there's no way Rose gets in on the Selig watch.  Speaking as a fan, as great as Rose's game was on the field his crimes against it at beyond reconciliation, especially when he spent a decade and a half lying about them, coming clean only when he could cash in on a self-written confession.  Coming clean for profit isn't endearing.  Neither is breaking the game's most hardened rule, one tested by the fires of the 1919 scandal that couldn't snuffed pro baseball in its tracks.

I might be giving Rose too much credit here.  Maybe he's not this conniving, this concocted, this conspiratorial.  Maybe he just wants to be the next Bruce Jenner, to sire the nation's next batch of Kardashians.   What the hell, it pays well, and Rose isn't exactly awash in cash, from the sound of things.   Maybe this is his "estate" that he wants to leave for those he loves when he's gone.

But never forget Rose's nickname is Charlie Hustle.


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