Last week Fox hosted a conference call to hype its All-Star Game coverage (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET on FOX and FOX Deportes) and the person providing the most hype on the call was a staffer making his All-Star game broadcasting debut.
You may have heard of him. His name is Pete Rose.
Given the All-Star Game ratings have generally tanked since 2009–there was an uptick for last year’s game that drew 12 million viewers–Rose has been an unexpected and welcome one-man marketing machine for Fox’s coverage. Along with host Kevin Burkhardt and fellow analyst Frank Thomas, Rose will appear on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET as part of FS1’s MLB Whiparound show. The pregame coverage then moves to local Fox stations at 7 p.m. ET, with the same trio.
In addition to his broadcasting responsibilities in the pregame, Rose will also be on the field of the Great American Ball Park prior to the game as part of the MLB “Franchise Four” campaign, where fans voted on the most impactful players in the history of each of the 30 clubs. Fox said 29 of the 30 teams will be revealed in a special video presentation produced by Fox, with the Reds’ selections–Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Barry Larkin and Rose –acknowledged on the field. Fox said it plans to interview Rose after the Franchise Four ceremony, but not on the field. Rose will also appear on the postgame show.
During the conference call, which Rose amusingly mistook at one point for a radio call-in program when he chastised a reporter asking about Ray Fosse (“If you’re gonna call the show, get your facts right!” said Rose), he discussed a ton of topics including his possible reinstatement with new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.
“I don’t know if I have a better chance or not,” Rose said. “When you say better chance, just having him review my status, I’m happy with. I’m looking forward to sitting down one-on-one with Mr. Manfred and discussing the situation. I really am. I don’t know when that may happen. I believe it will happen sometime after the All-Star break. I can’t give you a date… All I can tell you is, I’m not the same guy today as I was 25, 30 years ago. I realize 25, 30 years ago I made mistakes, and I’m not the same guy today. I’m just a solid baseball fan who loves the game, cares about the game and tries to help the game on a daily basis. We’ll go from there.”
Of note for this column, I asked Rose how long he wanted to continue with Fox if it was interested in him. “As long as my heart keeps beating, I enjoy working for Fox,” said Rose, 74. “I enjoy going to the green room and watching as many games as I can. I do it regardless if I am on Fox or at home–I watch baseball games every night… I’ll work for Fox as long as they want to have me.”
Of course not everyone is enamored with Rose back in the spotlight. ESPN MLB analyst Curt Schilling said he was tired of Rose’s overselling of Rose.
“Apathy, I guess, is the right word, I think,” Schilling said. “I guess I'm a little tired of his story overselling, overplaying or other things like the Hall of Fame weekend. Every weekend at the Hall of Fame when guys are getting inducted, there are always Pete Rose stories. I think that we're going to see the same thing at the All‑Star Game. We have a lot of guys, and he's going to be the story. At the end of the day–and I know Pete–I know him actually pretty well. I don't know the last time that he has actually told the truth from the standpoint of every time he says something–this is a guy that had a Lance Armstrong feel to it. It turns out that he's lied in every possible way and he's adamantly denied lying at every possible turn.
“The question I think everybody wants to know, did he bet on baseball? No, no, no, never did, never did, never did. Turns out he did as a player. Now the question is did he bet on his own team when he played? You know, I don't know where the line ends. But I do know that that poster about gambling was on every locker room I ever went in from the time I was in rookie ball to my last day in the big leagues, and it's one of the few rules where I think you mess with a lot more than just the integrity of the game. I'm apathetic. Certainly as far as the Hall of Fame goes, I don't know. I'm just kind of ready for it to end, the story.”
Alas, the story will be front and center on Tuesday night in Cincinnati and if history serves as a guide, look for Rose to make news in some way.
THE NOISE REPORT
SI.com examines some of the week's top media stories.
1. Joe Buck will call his 17th All Star Game, a record for a play-by-play announcer. Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci serve as the in-booth analysts and if history holds, look for Reynolds to trend on Twitter Tuesday night for the wrong reasons. Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews will be the on-field reporters.
2. In Monday’s column, I asked ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter a series of questions on why he tweeted out medical charts (he said they were obtained by ESPN) that showed Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul having his right index finger amputated.
2a. Here’s an interesting and somewhat critical take of my interview with Schefter from PFT's Mike Florio.
3. Awful Announcing polled its staff on where Colin Cowherd, Bill Simmons, and Keith Olbermann will eventually land.
4. The co-executive producers of the ESPYs, Maura Mandt and Connor Schell, agreed to talk about the process of why Caitlyn Jenner was selected for the Arthur Ashe Award.
5. The 10th episode of the SI Media Podcast features Fox Sports host and reporter Charissa Thompson (She is also a co-host for the syndicated entertainment news show Extra). In the podcast, Thompson discusses the cultural differences between working for ESPN and Fox Sports, how she prepares for her jobs, the social media vitriol she experienced while she was dating ESPN’s Jay Williams, the success of Katie Nolan, why she felt compelled to find détente with ESPN’s Michelle Beadle, and her decision to be open with her Instagram account. You can subscribe or listen to the podcast on iTunes here.
5a. Here’s ESPN’s British Open schedule.
5b. The Sports-Casters podcast interviewed ESPN’s Linda Cohn.
5c. SI has 25 different covers this week, featuring each member of the U.S. Women’s National soccer team.
5d. Enjoyed this tick-tock of the DeAndre Jordan saga from ESPN reporters Ramona Shelburne and Tim MacMahon.
5e. Please take the time to read this remarkable story about Valery Swope, an 18-year-old from Philadelphia.
5f. Via Patrick Radden Keefe: El Chapo Escapes Again.
5g. Best of luck to Courtney Nguyen as she leaves SI.com for the WTA. She was a terrific colleague and provided fabulous tennis content for SI.