Next weekend was supposed to be all about Pete Rose in Philadelphia. While the all time hits king will likely never be enshrined on a grander scale in Cooperstown, the Phillies were giving him a chance to be immortalized in their backyard. Rose was scheduled to become the latest Phillie to be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame, following last year’s recipient and all around good guy, Jim Thome. The Phillies were taking a chance in pulling this complete 180, undertaking the expedition despite knowing the risks that could be involved. Plans were going without a hitch until this week, when allegations surfaced that Rose had a sexual relationship with a girl who wasn’t yet 16-years-old in the 1970’s. This led to an accusation of statutory rape. Rose is denying these claims, saying he did, in fact, have relations with this unnamed woman, but it wasn’t until after she turned 16.
These allegations led the Phillies to cancel Rose’s induction ceremony and weekend entirely. The games, of course, will still be played, but the lengthy ceremony that culminates the weekend festivities simply won’t happen. The Pete Rose bobbleheads that were set to be given out to all fans for game one of the three game weekend series are rumored to be destroyed in the coming days.
Because of these allegations, the Phillies had to go into damage control mode, and the team felt this was the best way to combat the issue. Instead of honoring Rose, the Phillies are set to play highlights and honor those players inducted in previous seasons, including the most recent inductees, Jim Thome and Curt Schilling. The weekend will end with the usual affair, as the team will bring many Wall of Famers onto the field to be recognized like they do each year. The only difference in that day is that the group won’t be adding to its legions.
Now here’s something I found interesting. Of course, the Phillies issued a statement after the allegation was made, saying that the event would be canceled and the weekend would honor former winners in order to attract fans to the game. But what I find most peculiar is that Pete Rose also gave “comment”. In his comment, he agreed with the Phillies’ decision to pull the events of the weekend. Here’s what he had to say.
“While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year’s Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate.”
Now, I didn’t get a chance to watch Rose play the game, but I am an admirer of his on the field play. He was gritty, determined and the best hitter the game had seen since Ted Williams. I also know that he can be a bit standoffish and self-centered. That’s why I find the quote to be a little suspicious. I don’t think Pete Rose would be one to shy away from being given an award and having a weekend all about him. That’s just not his nature. So for him to come out with a statement like this, I have to believe that he was somewhat pushed into saying this, whether it be from his lawyer or the Phillies directly. Regardless of who nudged Rose to issue this statement, I doubt he was acting alone.
If you remember a few weeks ago, just as the All-Star break was coming to a close, I wrote a piece on things to look forward to in the second half of the season. The final aspect of that article was this Wall of Fame induction ceremony. I felt there were a large number of people who would flock to the stadium to see the hits leader enshrined into Phillies legend forever. I know it wasn’t an on the field “look forward to”, but I felt it would crank up attendance numbers, at least for one weekend, in a season that has been void of fans.
The Phillies have offered you a chance to redeem those tickets and recoup your money lost now that the honoring ceremony has been canceled. If you have tickets for this, or any game next weekend, you can go to any ticket window at Citizens Bank Park or mail your tickets to the team at One Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148, and the Phillies will refund the entirety of your purchase or give you exchanged tickets for any home game for the remainder of the 2017 season. All refunds or exchanges need to be sent to the team no later than October 1.
The team hasn’t officially ruled on Rose’s future as part of the Wall of Fame inductions. While they have not determined whether Rose will be permanently banned from ballots or induction, I’d imagine it’ll be a few years, or at least until this allegation clears itself up, before Rose will be allowed back on the ballot again. The tricky part for Rose is going to be the incoming class of eligible Phillies. At this point in his life, with so many problems swirling around him outside of baseball, I’d imagine Phillies fans will begin to induct players such as Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and more before Rose gets another shot at his weekend of immortality.
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports