It was announced on Saturday that Major League Baseball’s all-time hit king Pete Rose, 74, will be joining the FOX Sports family of baseball coverage. He’ll be a guest analyst and appear on various shows airing on FOX and FOX Sports 1.
The announcement comes just days after the 26th anniversary of Rose’s lifetime banishment from the sport of baseball. That banishment, of course, stems from bets Rose admitted to making while acting as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose maintains that he never bet on his team to lose, but that doesn’t matter in the letter of the one rule posted in every MLB clubhouse.
Rose had recently asked MLB’s new Commissioner Rob Manfred to conduct a review of the ban and allow him back into baseball’s good graces. The argument as to whether Rose should be reinstated is a polarizing one around baseball circles. You can find like-minded individuals who vehemently disagree on the issue.
To their position, FOX isn’t subjected to any kind of governing over their hiring despite its position as a broadcast partner of MLB. Rose also isn’t alone in entering into a working relationship with the home of the World Series. Recent retirees Dontrelle Willis and Raúl Ibañez were also recently named as analysts.
According to a report on FOXSports.com, Rose once “hosted a nationally syndicated radio show for about eight years and said that talking sports and conducting interviews are not new to him.”
Rose has been given some concessions over the years by MLB, such as being able to be a part of the upcoming All-Star Game festivities in Cincinnati at Great American Ballpark the summer, but this is being positioned as simply an employment opportunity and a chance for FOX to add a unique voice to its baseball coverage.
So why now with Rose? Furthermore, why Rose at all? Well, Rose is known to be knowledgeable about today’s game and could really add a different perspective as someone who not only played at a Hall of Fame level and managed in the big leagues, but also as someone who understands “old school” and “new school” mentalities in and about the game.
Now for the editorial section of this piece.
I’m very much looking forward to this. Pete Rose has a tremendous mind for the game of baseball and I think will really give us some stuff we’ve never had from a studio analyst before. Guys like Peter Gammons have been around as long and covering the game, but for everything Gammons has, he’s never done what Rose has done in the game. Face it: There aren’t many septuagenarians who are even working, let alone one with the combination of experience and know-how that Rose will bring.
Do I think Pete Rose belongs in the league or even in the Hall of Fame? That’s an answer I’ll save for another time in this space. I think that would fill up quite a bit of room.
As for this analyst gig, I always appreciate a reasoned argument from someone who has done something at the highest level. Add in personality and the intangible that makes someone interesting, and you have a compelling figure who people want to watch. Despite my love of baseball, I don’t have a ton of appointment television when it comes to analysts. I always enjoy John Smoltz on MLB Network and I made it a point to check out Pedro Martinez last fall and again after he joined MLB Network. I’ll be tuning in for Pete Rose on FOX.
That, after all, is probably the best compliment I can give someone in that position. Whether he remains worthy of my time is up to him. But if there’s one thing Pete Rose has proven over the years it’s that he knows how to come through in the clutch.