Most current Major League Baseball players wouldn’t want to be caught dead associating with Pete Rose. So, it makes perfect sense that the all-time hit king is pretty chummy with Alex Rodriguez.
Rose was in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Thursday — not at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, obviously, but at a memorabilia store a block away — and he spoke to USA Today on a number of subjects. One of those subjects was his friend A-Rod, who he met at an autograph signing in, of all places, Las Vegas, a couple of years ago.
“A-Rod is a great kid, I think, but he lacks self-confidence,” Rose said. “A lot of good players do. Sparky Anderson taught me this a long time ago: There’s three ways you can treat a person. You can pat ’em on the butt, you can kick ’em in the butt, or you can leave ’em alone. If [Rose’s former manager Sparky Anderson] was alive today, he’d tell you that A-Rod needs to be patted on the butt.”
Rose didn’t really answer questions about the specific allegations against Rodriguez, but he did indicate he feels Rodriguez gets an unfair shake from fans and the media.
“All through his career in New York — it wasn’t fair — he was always compared to [Derek] Jeter,” Rose said. “They’re totally different, and they’re thought upon totally different by the fans. A-Rod can do no right, and Jeter can do no wrong. It’s not because of his ability — he’s got great ability. It’s just the way people perceive him.”
It’s interesting that Rose refers to Rodriguez’s Yankees career in the past tense — does he know something the rest of us don’t? Either way, as Rodriguez awaits his fate in the form of a likely suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic, Rose continues to wait for his redemption, too — a block away from the Hall of Fame.