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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to controversy, Pete Rose is all too familiar with it. Baseball’s all-time hits leader has been banned from the sport he drew his ‘Charlie Hustle’ name from since 1989 for betting on games while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Rose accepted the lifetime ban from baseball for gambling and has been an outcast ever since.
With Major League Baseball’s recent investigation of the Biogenesis scandal and suspension of 12 players, including Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, Rose has recently been asked to offer his insight into what’s going on.
He joined 93.7 The Fan’s John Phillips (Twitter- @937Phillips) to discuss this and other topics.
Pete was candid about his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball and getting a second chance to return to the game.
“You have to understand, I don’t call these guys to do shows, they call me. And of course with all this steroid talk and the 12 guys being suspended and A-Rod appealing, they want my input because I’m suspended for life. Hey, everything is a different case. I made mistakes. I can’t whine about it. I’m the one that messed up and I’m paying the consequences. However, if I am given a second chance, I won’t need a third chance. And to be honest with you, I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating up my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance. They haven’t given too many gamblers a second chances in the world of baseball,” Rose said.
As far as a comparison to his situation and what took place in 1919 with the famed ‘Black Sox’ scandal, Pete feels there is a difference and doesn’t think the two are similar.
“I understand what happened there. I understand the whole thing about guys throwing the World Series. I don’t like to be compared to Joe Jackson. because Joe Jackson, I think, took money to throw World Series games. Well, I know I bet on my own team to win. There’s pretty much a big difference there, but both of us were wrong,” Rose said.
Since admitting to betting on baseball and his banishment from the sport by then Commissioner A. Bart Giamatti, Rose has had great regret for what he did and knows its the reason he’s not involved in the game.
“Oh sure, it’s the worst mistake I could have ever made. If I ever made the Hall of Fame, I’d be the happiest guy in the world. But I don’t want you to think that I go to bed at night praying I make the Hall of Fame. When I go to bed at night, I pray that I wake up tomorrow morning. That’s where I’m at in my life right now. I will continue to sell the game of baseball. Talk positive about the game of baseball. Defend the game of baseball which you know right now is awfully hard to do today,” Rose said.
In the past year, Rose has struck of a friendship with A-Rod and says they stay in touch more that you think.
“The last time I texted Alex is when (Yankees GM) Brian Cashman told him to keep his bleeping mouth shut and play baseball. I met Alex more than a year ago. He was wrong, there’s no question about it. He talks about old timers in baseball. He talks about Clemente and Aaron. He loves this history of the game. I think he’d be the first one to tell you he screwed up. And if he doesn’t, he’s not telling you the truth. My advice to anybody listening is don’t do like I did, don’t do like Alex did or do what Braun did. Don’t do like any of those guys did. Don’t lie if you are confronted about something that you made a mistake. The faster you come clean the better of you are going to be,” Rose said.
As far as his all-time hits record being broken, Pete says it will probably stand.
“Players come up today and they don’t concentrate on getting 200 hits. They concentrate on hitting 35 to 40 home runs. And they don’t care if they strike out 165-170 times. If they hit the home runs, the owners are going to pay them. You have to be a good player to break my record. You have to have 200 hits for 20 years. Good players today, by the time they are 35-36 don’t have to play into their 40′s because they have $150-$160 million in the bank. They don’t have to keep playing and they can enjoy life,” Rose said.
Pete also offered his thoughts on the 2013 Pirates, saying they have a real good chance of making the playoffs, along with St Louis and Cincinnati.
“You like to party with Marte. This kid can run and McCutchen looks like a nice hitter when he’s up there. Burnett has pitched well. They win close games. If I was playing against the Pirates, I wouldn’t feel safe. They win close games. When they are at home and down 3 or 4 runs in the ninth, you still feel like they are going to come back. They get timely hitting and play great defense and play as team, they play together,” Rose said.
You can listen to the entire interview below.