March 23, 2007

Pete Rose: 'It Was 20 Years Ago'

Yesterday was an interesting day. Over 40 business owners and service providers attended the monthly Lunch'n'Learn seminar hosted at my incubator. The presentation and Q&A session were focused on learning how we can do business with the city government. I anticipate that most of my incubator clients will take steps to register as a Small Business Enterprise in the near future.

Later in the day I attended the 78th annual meeting of the Allied Construction Industries. My incubator strives to build the capacity of MBE/WBE companies in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. So, networking with ACI is important. Frankly, it is impressive when any organization can do something for 78 years in a row ... so, I looked forward to this meeting over at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. There were over 1,000 folks in attendance. The keynoter was baseball's 'hit king' -- Pete Rose.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. As such, I used to truly dislike Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and the rest of the so-called Big Red Machine. That's how things are when you are a kid. You love your team and you pretty much hate all the other teams. I used to hate the Cincinnati Reds.

So, I wasn't all googly-eyed about hearing from Pete Rose. However, I must admit that he was hilarious and a perfect match for his hometown audience. He had me and the others in the audience rolling with laughter at least half a dozen times during the course of his speech and Q&A session.

His discussion ranged from his childhood on the west end of Cincinnati to his years in baseball beginning as a minor-leaguer in 1960 to his son's continuing quest as a 36-year old to play pro baseball to his 16-1 record as a member of the National League all-star team to his gambling addiction to his relationship with the current baseball commissioner to his interactions with Joe DiMaggio, Priscilla Presley and others.

Pete is 65 years old ... and his life revolves around his career as a baseball player. He clearly expressed a dream of becoming a major league manager again in his future.

The most compelling moment of his speech for me was simple. When asked a question about his suspension from baseball as a result of his betting on the games ... he said simply, 'It was 20 years ago...' I must admit that in today's baseball when it is acknowledged that huge numbers of players were cheating with steroids and when drug fiends, wife-beaters and drunks are still accepted into baseball's Hall of Fame and are still managing or playing ... you have to wonder why they don't cut this guy a break.

It was 20 years ago. What do you think? Is it time for baseball to bring Pete Rose back from purgatory?

4 comments:

Toby said...

Should baseball cut Pete Rose a break?

Nope. I was among the staunchest of Rose supporters, until his book came out.

That was the last straw for me, he's only interested in making money for himself -- and he doesn't care who he tarnishes to do it.

Villager said...

Toby --> thanx for visiting da Village! I respect you for your candid perspective. I imagine that most of us are "interested in making money" for ourselves, although there is never a good excuse to tarnish or damage others in the process.

peace, Villager

James said...

let Pete in the Hall. I met Pete a couple of weeks back in Vegas, he signed a baseball for that says, I'm sorry I bet on baseball. Many of the top Hall members say Pete should be in. As OJ would say, he didn't kill anyone.

Villager said...

James --> oddly enough, you are about the fourth person in the past week to tell me a "Pete Rose signed autographs for me in Las Vegas" story. That must be his primary source of income now. I imagine it must be hard to kick a gambling addiction if you live in Las Vegas most of the time!

peace, Villager