The following article is a guest post from Getting Blanked contributor Dave Hodgson. Dave is a part of the Fun Time Internet team, which one day will be the only website on the internet. They’re that funny.
It hasn’t been an easy decade for Pete Rose. Following his admission to betting on games, his goal was to be reinstated into Major League Baseball, but all he’s really accomplished is to further demean himself. After appearing at WWE’s Wrestlemania where he was piledriven while wearing a chicken suit, but before he began charging an extra fee to sign merchandise with “I’m sorry I bet on baseball,” Charlie Hustle made another important pit stop on any shamed athlete’s quest for a quick buck: a bad instructional DVD.
It’s called “Pete Rose: Playing to Win”, and I found it in the Canadian Tire bargain bin, simultaneously breaking my vow to never buy DVDs from the bargain bin, and my other vow to never enter a Canadian Tire. It begins with an endorsement from the late Sparky Anderson, who tries a little too hard to convince the viewer that Rose has good intentions, then Pete joins a pack of eager, fresh-faced youngsters who are outfitted, like him, in custom-made “Hit King” jerseys and hats. For Pete Rose is baseball’s Hit King, you see. They even airbrushed the Cincinnati Reds jersey he’s wearing on the cover to slap another Hit King on there.
Just in case you were beginning to think this DVD might serve more to publicize himself than to help young players, Pete jumps into the lessons, beginning with baserunning. They range from the wishy-washy – “tag the inside part of the base with your left foot… but it’s okay to tag it with your right foot” – to the devastatingly obvious – “It’s easier to get home from third than from first or second”. Don’t give everything away, Hit King!
Onto hitting, a domain over which Pete Rose appears to rule as some sort of King, and he stands behind the backstop to tutor batters like his son Pete Jr., a hulking slugger he nicknames Big John (“Big John’s gonna be in the big leagues,” he gushes), and future Minnesota Twin Jason Kubel. The latter seems startled by Hit King barking useless pointers like “see the ball.”
Then there’s the pitching portion, which Pete speeds through like he’s got a hot date (though it’s not like anyone’s watching to see how he grips a splitter). Rose interviews former first-round pick Matt Harrington, who after taping this DVD watched his career nosedive almost immediately, unable to reach terms on a contract, and never played in the majors. Is it pure coincidence, or did MLB’s General Managers smell the stink of despair left on him by Pete Rose? You make the call.
The most entertaining moment comes when Rose himself steps up to the plate and takes his hacks, pretending that he’s moving an imaginary line-up of Hit Kings around the basepaths. “Man on first… now he’s on third.” I don’t know which thought is more amusing: an entire roster of washed-up Pete Roses, or anyone, much less a fifty-year-old man, going first-to-third in those enormous pants. If Carl Crawford pulled them on and tried that, he’d go airborne like a flying squirrel.
If the Pete Rose of the 2000s has shown us anything, it’s that he’s abandoned his chase for the Hall of Fame to instead pursue the almighty dollar, so it’s rather appropriate that this DVD ended up in the almighty dollar bin. In his introduction Rose claims that “hard work and dedication” went into “Playing to Win” but there’s really nothing to suggest that he didn’t just crap it out in an afternoon. The video’s worst sin, however, is that it didn’t even have to exist. All you need is this clip of Hit King clobbering Ray Fosse at the end of an inconsequential All Star Game for everything Pete Rose has to say about playing to win.
For more Fun Time Internet awesomness, check out their invasion of the Joe Carter and Friends Golf Tournament.