True Story: Show no pity for Pete Rose.

For a little more then two years, I worked and dove in to the dirty, materialistic city that is Las Vegas, Nevada.  My employer was a sports and celebrity memorabilia shop on the Las Vegas strip.  As many may already know, the “Hit King” Pete Rose would spend three to four days every week signing his life away on anything and everything for fans willing to over spend on his signature.  Rose would charge anywhere from $60 to $600 to place his name on a baseball, photograph, jersey, ball cap, bat, helmet or lithograph.  Rose has no shame, at one point our newest item was a baseball signed with the infamous “I’m sorry I bet on baseball”. He is no different then Jose Canseco, who once wrote “the steroid king, all juiced up!” on a baseball for a fellow employee at the store.  Rose has publicly made a stance against performance enhancing drugs, stating they are “making a mockery of the game” in regards to the Mitchell Report in 2007.  When reported steroid user, Gary Matthews Jr. stopped in unannounced to chat with Rose the two seemed to get along quite well.  The same goes for Alex Rodriguez when he came by and mingled with Rose on a Saturday afternoon.

Any true baseball fan will never deny Rose of the way he played the game.  A record that will never be broken, his 4,256 career hits demonstrates his ability to show up ready to compete everyday.  His squashing of catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star game is something you will never see from a modern-day ballplayer.  After 24 seasons, Rose managed until 1989 when his infamous gambling scandal was revealed. Rose did bet on baseball, and I believe he always put money on his team to win. The same mentality that made him a great ballplayer, is the same personality trait that has haunted him since retirement. Simply said, he isn’t confident but cocky to a fault.  His competitive nature is what keeps him gambling today.  Any customer to walk in, will see a little television on his signing desk to keep up with his days bets. Despite the great payout and movement of the spread, Rose was one of the only people I knew to take the Patriots to cover the spread over the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.  Rose only thinks big, his ridiculous parlays every weekend would come from a gambling call service.  The doorman for Rose was a sports gambling professional like I have never seen and they were good friends. The Kentucky raised wealthy man had an eye for spreads and hit between 60%-65% of his bets.  He would run bets to the casino for Rose, but his advice was never taken. While my addiction to sports gambling was just as deep, I wasn’t as good as I thought and I didn’t have the capital to do any damage. The store was nothing short of a reality show. Employees would leave unannounced to place bets or hit the tables, and celebrities would stop by frequently.  With six televisions in the store, we were more concerned with our wagers then selling the products in the store.  A sinful heaven, we would talk baseball strategy with Rose, sell overpriced items, and adhere to no company structure.

During the day Rose was always cordial, but never outgoing unless it was a woman.  He constantly was shaking off heckler tourists, and really never cared what people thought of his past, or current transgressions. Rose along with his wife/girlfriend would meet up with the employees from time to time and catch a beer and some grub. He didn’t want to be bothered, and usually appeared with us due to a women.  Rose would publicly state his relationship status, but time management and multi-tasking was a trait he had mastered.  The easiest way to spot one of “Pete’s girls” in the store; breast implants.  Sure these women would be taken shopping, but only the chosen ones would receive the gift of very, very large breasts.  If his girlfiend/wife didn’t make it to Las Vegas for the weekend, another woman would be waiting.  Two young women were hired by the store to help Rose deal with the customers and promotions of his signings.  These women would be paid “bonuses” under the table, for “taking” care of Rose during his work day.  The women in Pete’s life didn’t expect a wedding ring, they simply were attracted to his wealth and so-called celebrity status.

I have moved from Las Vegas, and now keep only the stories of my middle twenties with me.  I have nothing personal against Rose, but I don’t believe he is a ballplayer that should be idolized, or even elected into the Hall of Fame.  The market for a Pete Rose signature is saturated and he could really care less about meeting you inside a store on the Las Vegas strip.  Rose will always give you a 100% effort, but that effort will be focused on his own addictions, achievements, and happiness.


~ by philip d. on May 13, 2010.

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