An interview with the “Hit King,” part II
After an exciting exclusive opening interview with the “Hit King” Pete Rose we are now ready to dive into more exciting never before asked questions.
The rules for the interview – there were none. Here is the second interview in a four-part series.
Mark: Pete, you’ve already started giving us advice on younger people. What would you say to Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus on what’s going on today?
Pete: Well, Justin Bieber when he first came out – my fiancé’s daughter went to meet him at breakfast one time and he was really a good kid. He was a delightful kid. I don’t know what’s happened to him the last three or four years. It just seems like, you can’t think he’s hanging with the wrong crowd because he makes so much money, he’s so talented. It just seems like right now he’s in that situation where he wants negative press. There are some people that think press is press whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. I don’t know how he feels, but it’s going to be interesting when he starts doing concerts again with all the trouble he’s had recently. Are fans going to buy his tickets?
Now, I remember Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. I met him a long, long time ago. I think she was just a real little girl. Mark, when they go to Hollywood they start doing strange things, whether it’s tattoos or hair color or haircut. But she’s very, very popular. That Disney Channel makes a lot of stars out of a lot of kids. She’s another one that just became a big star. I’m not going to tell them how to run their life. I mean, if they were under my roof I would probably sit down and talk to them. But you know, they should be in good hands. There are always circumstances that you and I don’t know.
Mark: You are still loved here in Cincinnati and so many people look up to you but do you have any regrets?
Pete: In Cincinnati? The only regret I have in my life, the only regret is making the mistake I made when I gambled on baseball. If I could change anything in my life that’s the only thing I would change. I wouldn’t change the way I attacked the game of baseball. I grew up in a period of time when it was really fun growing up. The way I approached the game in the minor leagues, what I do today, I mean everything is hunky dory and I just, you know, I made a mistake. I made a mistake. Some people are willing to let me go on with my life and there’s going to be some people that are never going to let you go on with your life. But I’m just one of these guys, I live in America. I’m an American and I believe, and I could be wrong, but I believe that eventually, eventually you will get a second chance. It’s a shame that I took the wrong vice. Gambling is the wrong vice when you’re talking about baseball. All the vices are bad, okay, they’re all bad, but people get confused when I say this, but if I’d been into drugs they would have sent me to rehab and I would have been reinstated. If I’d have been into alcohol they would have sent me to rehab and I would have been reinstated. If I’d have been a spousal abuser they would have sent me to rehab and I’d probably been reinstated. But I took gambling and I know what happened in 1919 with the Red Sox and I know how ticklish they are about the world of gambling. But all four of them are bad. Don’t do any of them. But I just chose, in my eyes, as far as baseball is concerned, the wrong one.
Mark: Fair enough. I was talking with famed Defense Attorney Bert Travis and he says what else do you have to do to say you’re sorry? Some people are just not going to accept our apology, are they?
Pete: That’s okay. You know, we’ve seen things in my lifetime. We saw Mr. Nixon say he was sorry and people forgot about it and gave him a second chance. Bill Clinton, you know, those are guys who run our country. There’s a lot of people that have been given second chances but you know, when I sit here and talk to you I’m trying to figure out why, what I did, why what I did hurt anybody that’s watching you and I talk. It hurt me. It hurt my family. It didn’t hurt you. It didn’t hurt the camera man. It didn’t hurt the producer. Am I right about that? I mean, I don’t know why people just can’t get over it. I mean, it was 1987 when I bet on baseball. 1987. How many years ago was that? It’s time to move on as far as I’m concerned. But like you said some people would tell you today I couldn’t hit. That I must have cheated to get all those hits. You know some people say Hank Aaron couldn’t hit. Well, what’s the sense in trying to change all of those people? They got it in their craw and it’s never going to come out of there so you just try to be a productive citizen and try to move on and try to help as many people as you possibly can.
Hey, I’m the best ambassador baseball has and they don’t even want me in the game because what do I do? Twenty days a month in Las Vegas, four and a half hours a day I sign autographs and talk positive about the game. As people know, baseball can be a tough game to defend today. There are a lot of things going on that people don’t like in the world of baseball. It’s very popular and the players are making a lot of money and that means the owners are making a lot of money. You can pick on baseball because of the drug situation and you can’t do that in football. You can’t do that in basketball. You can’t do that in hockey. So of the four major sports baseball still has a little bit of bad taste in a lot of people’s head as far as I’m concerned.
Mark Calitri is the President of the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CVB is online at visitclermontohio.com.