Baseball On My Brain


Me and the King in Vegas
April 22, 2008, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Me and the  Hit King

Yes indeed – I went to Vegas and met the King.

For those that don’t know, Pete Rose does signings at a sports memorabilia shop in Caesar’s Palace. Balls, bats, jerseys, etc., he’ll sign it, and at a reasonable price. I was in Vegas to see the Mariners play the Cubs at Cashman Field, and while my co-workers decided to lay by the pool, I decided to go out for a walk, which of course led me in to the above-mentioned mall, and the King.

Meeting Pete Rose was pretty interesting…and if you know me, interesting is my way of not saying what I’m really thinking. It was pretty cool, but also kind of disappointing to meet the Hit King in a card shop in Las Vegas, all for a price. Now I know that Rose didn’t play in the days of the mega-contract…although he made his share of money, and it’s up to every individual to make the most out of every penny they earn. So I get that this is an easy way for Pete to pick up some extra coin. No harm there.

But at the same time, I also felt weird paying to get an autograph. I’m generally not one to pay for stuff, unless it’s really rare, cool, or unique. It’s just not how I roll. Plus, I rarely find myself in a position to buy anything at a reasonable price, usually being outbid by a crazed fan or someone who just wants to throw their wallet around. But that’s beside the point.

Meeting someone who has cemented himself in baseball history as Rose has (good and/or bad) feels like it should be done under a bit more dignified circumstances. Maybe I’m crazy – but it just doesn’t feel right standing in the toll lane to meet someone.

Nevertheless – it was kind of interesting to sit next to Rose for a minute or two. I really didn’t want to ask the standard questions…nor did I want to feel like I was grilling the guy, so I asked him if he thought that the color of a hitter’s bat made any kind of difference. I’d heard that some players feel that it’s tougher for fielders to distinguish the path of the bat when it’s dark. When it’s harder to pick up the way the bat is swung, it gives the fielders one less tool to get a read of the ball off the bat. However, Rose didn’t see it that way…saying it was simply a matter of preference. However – Rose did use a black bat for a lot of his career…so take that for what it’s worth.

With all that being said, it was a pretty cool experience that’s worth doing if you’re in Sin City. You don’t get to meet guys like Pete Rose every day, and I’d rather say I paid to meet him than say I never got the chance. It was purely good fortune that I went out on that walk, and who should I be to get in the way of chance? Rose was one of the first guys that I remember really being in awe of when I was a little kid — I remember when he got the record-breaking hit, and I remember collecting the baseball cards and stickers that commemorated the event. I never saw him play in person – but even with the limited TV coverage, I certainly knew who he was.

Me and the King, in Vegas. Long live the King.

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