On the eve of what stands to be an interesting day in baseball history with the announcement Wednesday of this year’s Hall of Fame class — if there actually will even be a class — comes this latest oddity from the Pete Rose saga.
Rose takes a swing at a new game in a TLC reality show called “Pete Rose: Hits and Mrs.”
Oh, boy. Say it ain’t so, Pete.
Baseball’s Hit King, starved for attention, will star in the show focusing on his relationship with Kiana Kim, who once posed for Playboy and is Rose’s fiancée.
He has been married twice, with two grown children from each marriage. Some of the children will be seen in the new show expressing their reservations about his relationship with Kim, who is 31, according to the New York Daily News.
She has two children of her own, 14 and 11.
She lives in Los Angeles while he is based in Las Vegas, and their whole situation is enough to understand why TLC saw some potential in the series.
TLC stands for the Learning Channel. I wonder, pray tell, what we are supposed to learn from “Pete Rose: Hit and Mrs.” That one airs, by the way, at 10 p.m. Monday if anyone is remotely interested.
To me, it’s another example of “Are you kidding me?” television. My other one that’s hard to understand is Fox’s “Stars In Danger: The High Dive.” It’s apparently a take on a wildly popular German reality show. Celebrities will be taking a flying leap. That one airs from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday if you’re interested.
Frankly, I’m not.
Rose’s show borders on pathetic as well. I’ve always supported his case for being in the Hall of Fame and always will simply for what he did on the field, mostly as a star player for the Cincinnati Reds. He certainly had his missteps off the field, including being banned from baseball for life because he bet on games. Rose still says, however, he never bet against his own team.
Gambling is the unforgivable sin in baseball and Rose continues pressing his nose on the Hall of Fame doors in Cooperstown. You can expect him to make another pitch at a formal appeal for reinstatement. Maybe it’s just a different stage for him.
But you have to feel a little sorry for Rose, who is certainly grasping with a TLC reality show with a Playboy model 40 years his junior.
Rose’s days on the field are precious baseball memories for me, from his “Charlie Hustle” attitude and going all-out on every play, to chasing greats like Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio.
When he left baseball he admitted to being a compulsive gambler, pleaded guilty to income tax evasion and spent some time in professional wrestling.
Fans still root for Rose’s inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but being part of reality television doesn’t exactly make the case stronger.
It’s another swing and miss in my estimation.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2648.