The midsection was larger than we saw during his playing days, but there was plenty of nostalgia at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard when Pete Rose returned to manage the Bridgeport Bluefish (independent; Atlantic League) for a game.
It wasn’t a sellout — a crowd of 4,573 didn’t fill the 5,300-capacity ballpark — but the 73-year-old Rose certain made an impression coming out to home plate in a large jersey and dress pants to deliver the lineups.
It was the first time Rose appeared in a dugout since 1989 and his ban from Major League Baseball — a topic that was on the mind of many. As you’ll recall, Rose was banned for life by Major League Baseball for betting on games as manager of the Reds, and despite an appeal to current MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, the ban has not been lifted. Rose’s supporters say it’s time to lift the ban, which also contains a ban from being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, at last to recognize his accomplishments as MLB’s all-time hits leader. From Cincinnati.com:
“He’s here, so I’m definitely going to ask him about stuff,” said 40-year-old Luis Lopez, who has spent 20 years playing baseball, but just two at the major league level. “I’m going to pick his brain about everything, especially hitting, because eventually I want to coach.”
Rose said he would never consider managing an independent league team full-time. It just doesn’t pay enough. He makes a lot more money these days making personal appearances around the country and signing autographs for cash on the Las Vegas strip.
About 50 fans paid $250 each to get into a “meet and greet” with Rose before the game and others paid $150 to have lunch with him. He did sign some free autographs as he took the field.
Image courtesy Bridgeport Bluefish.
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