The curious case of Pete Rose working All-Star Game for Fox

It still doesn’t completely make sense. Pete Rose remains banned from baseball, and yet he will be working as a pre- and postgame analyst for Fox for one of its signature events, the All-Star Game in Cincinnati Tuesday.

Doesn’t add up, right?

Major League Baseball had to sign off on Fox giving Rose such a prominent platform this year. Fox is a MLB network partner. If MLB objected, Rose wouldn’t be talking about Bryce Harper for Fox Tuesday.

Why now for Rose? It wasn’t as if someone at Fox suddenly realized, ‘Hey this Rose guy might be a good analyst.”

Rose has been talking baseball for years during his long exile. He always is outspoken; he knows the game; and besides that, he’s Pete Rose. Under normal circumstances, Rose would have had a network analyst job a long time ago.

So why did it take until Rose was 74 to finally land a gig at Fox?

Nobody is saying, but the best guess is that Bud Selig stood in the way of one of its network partners bringing in Rose. “Not on my watch,” Selig probably said.

New commissioner Rob Manfred seems more open to the idea of finally removing the ban. Perhaps allowing Rose to work for Fox is a first step in the process.

At the very least, Rose, who will be part of the pregame ceremonies in his hometown Tuesday, could help Fox’s ratings.

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Here are some highlights from Fox’s teleconference last week that including Rose:

Rose on the possibility of reinstatement:

“Just having him [Commissioner Manfred] review my status, I’m happy. I’m looking forward to sitting down one-on-one with Mr. Manfred and discussing the situation. I’ll be as honest as I possibly can about my life in baseball. I’m elated and I’m genuinely happy that Mr. Manfred is willing to reconsider my status. I’ve never met him before, but hopefully I can introduce myself soon. When you’re in my situation, you’ll be happy with pretty much anything. I’m just happy that he’s willing to review my status, and we’ll go from there.”

Rose on being a baseball analyst for FOX Sports:

“I enjoy going into the green room and watching as many games as I possibly can. To be able to go into American homes on a regular basis and talk about what I just watched, and argue with Frank Thomas and Chris Myers, it’s just a lot of fun. I watch baseball games every night, and I care about the game, I love the game, and I want the game to be successful. And working for FOX just gives me more exposure, and it’s the kind of exposure I like because I enjoy the game of baseball.”

Joe Buck on Rose as a broadcaster:

“He will say how he feels, understands the game better than most anybody I’ve ever come across and is willing to say things that others aren’t willing to say. And that’s what makes a great analyst. When Pete did his audition, you could hear a pin drop in the room because everyone wanted to hear what he had to say. And that’s how I’m going to be when I’m in the booth and they are doing pregame. I’m going to want to hear what Pete has to say, and that relevance and importance is everything in today’s television industry.”

Rose on the reaction he gets from fans:

“You have to understand how people feel about you. People around me give me positive vibes. People who want my autograph don’t talk bad about me. People understand that I understand that I made a mistake and I want to go on with my life. So that’s the situation I find myself in mostly everywhere I go.”

Fox Sports president of production John Entz on Rose’s work ethic:

“From the TV side, we can’t say enough good things about how Pete has been. On the air he’s been a really interesting listen. He says exactly what’s on his mind. He knows the game; he follows the game; he loves the game. It’s been nothing but positive there.”

Rose on his approach to broadcasting:

“To me, working at FOX is like playing a baseball game. I have to be there, I have to do my preparation, I have to try to do a good job and know what I’m talking about. I have to try and fit in. I have to give my best effort because I know people are watching. I don’t want to disappoint the people at FOX who gave me an opportunity. That’s why I am the way that I am. I am playing FOX just like the way I play baseball.”

Frank Thomas on working with Rose:

“Pete was a legend for a reason. He busted his butt every day. He played the game to the fullest. He has a record that will probably never be broken—because I don’t see anyone playing as long as Pete played with the money thrown at kids these days. But he was always an inspiration just because of how hard he played. He’s a hard worker.”

 

 

 

 

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