For Pete's Sake

Full disclosure: I love Pete Rose.

It has to be tough for Pete that another Hall-Of-Fame class was inducted and he wasn't there. I've made a promise to myself that if Pete is ever enshrined, I'm going to Cooperstown to watch. At this rate, my grandkids might have to wheel me there. For the reason why, look at some of these comments he dropped at a recent speaking engagement:

"I was ****ed off that Marge [Schott, former Reds owner] didn't leave me any money in her will; she left it all to the zoo."

"Marge loved to smoke and she would have smoked in her sleep if someone was there to hold her cigarette all night."

"I saw Joe DiMaggio in the shower and he saw more of him than Marilyn Monroe ever did."

Interesting, to say the least. Apparently he also got off a couple of F-bombs. Nice. It's even more interesting when you realize these comments were said at a baseball camp in front of 7 to 14 year-olds. Do seven year-olds even know who Marilyn Monroe is, let alone Joe DiMaggio? I bet only a handful knew who Marge Schott was. As a professional public speaker, I would like to offer the Hit King this valuable piece of advice: know your audience before you speak so you don't reference things they're not familiar with.

Ah, Westside Godfather, how many more times are you going to embarrass me for claiming you as my favorite baseball player of all time? It's like I've run out of defenses. Pretty soon I'm going to have to claim my own addiction to explain my imbalanced choice.

I should note one thing he said that drew a lot of criticism from parents. He told the kids that "winning is everything and if you get second place you're just losers." I bet some of the parents were more put-off by this comment than the F-bombs. Personally, I love it. Who else is going to come out and say that anymore? Parents might deceive little Johnny and Suzie into thinking the world's a big love-fest where everybody wins, but they're liars.

In order to make it in this world, you've gotta go for broke. And Pete Rose actually exemplified that. This guy didn't have the talent to make the Majors, let alone be one of its greatest players. But he clawed his way to the top with his can't lose attitude and made something of himself . . . and then he gambled it all away.

This is a trainwreck from which I cannot look away.