It would probably be folly to expect savvy PR decisions from Pete Rose, the gap-toothed, bowl-cut hit king whose idea of portfolio diversification was illegally gambling on baseball games while he was still playing baseball, and evading income taxes on his memorabilia sales.
But the hard-luck Rose now has a brilliant plan to rehabilitate his image and put some money in his pocket at the same time: illegal gambling-related memorabilia sales!
The glamorous and sexy world of big-time sports detritus collecting was giddy when baseballs surfaced bearing Rose's signature along with the inscription, "I'm sorry I bet on baseball." It was rumored that some collectors paid up to $10,000 for the balls, money that could have spent on several months' worth of dating lessons.
Unbowed, Rose is now vowing to sign more such baseballs, arguing that, hey, he didn't get paid for the ones out there now. He told ESPN that he would do it for the fans, "if that's what they want."
Here's something the fans might have wanted from Charlie Hustle even more: a public apology that didn't take 15 years to come out. Rose has been trying to get into the Hall of Fame for a long time, deciding two years ago that perhaps lying wasn't the most efficient strategy. But his lifetime ban will likely remain in place as long as he continues to resemble a seedy Vegas blackjack hustler in his public behavior.
You were a good hitter, Pete. But nobody would bet on you having any balls.
PR Play Rating:
3. On the right track