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Friday, April 05, 2013

Keri: ‘Cincinnati Is a Joke to Pitch In’: A Not-So-Brief Chat With Pete Rose

Pete and Repeat were sitting…

On the proliferation of home runs:

What we’ve done for baseball is this: We made all the ballparks smaller, we’ve juiced up the ball, the pitchers are bigger and stronger, and we won’t call strikes. Everything is against the pitcher. They should raise the mound again, put them on even terms. They lowered the mound after the ‘68 season; that’s because Bob Gibson had 13 shutouts and Denny McLain won 31 games. And they haven’t done anything with it since then.

I saw a guy last year in Cincinnati — I’m not bullshitting you — his ####### bat broke in half, and he hit the ball out in center field. Out of the ballpark. And is there a reason why Ryan Howard has over 200 opposite-field home runs? I played against Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente, and I don’t remember seeing any of them hit opposite-field home runs. And they were pretty good hitters. One hit 660 and one hit 755, and I don’t remember them hitting opposite-field home runs. I just don’t remember it. I’m sure they did sometimes but not like these guys today. Cincinnati is a joke to pitch in; it’s a ####### joke to pitch in. Philadelphia is a joke to pitch in, Camden Yards is a joke to pitch in. Now, the new San Diego ballpark, and the Met ballpark was a joke to pitch in, so what do they do? They bring the fences in! So it’s gonna be worse.

On Bob Gibson:

He’s the best. He never stops talking now, but it wasn’t like that at all when he played.

I’m in the league two weeks, playing in St. Louis. Gibson hits a double, I’m playing second base. I go over and say, “What’d you hit, Gibby, a fastball?” And he stood there like this, not moving, not saying anything. So maybe I didn’t say it loud enough. “What’d you hit, Gibby, a fastball?” Nothing. Now the inning’s over, my manager’s Fred Hutchinson, I went over and said, “Hey, skipper, let me ask you a question.” He said, “What do you want, rook?” I said, “Is Bob Gibson a deaf mute?” He said, “Why?” I said, “I asked him what he hit, and he won’t talk to me.” He said, “No, he don’t talk to the opposition.” So the next day I’m out there early hanging on to the cage watching Groat and Boyer and Musial and Julian Javier. And Gibson comes out of the dugout. In those days there wasn’t fraternizing, and I’m watching batting practice. And he walks by me and says, “It was a slider, rook.” It took him 24 ####### hours, but he talked to me!

Repoz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:27 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4405093)
Rose is an ass, but the Gibson anecdote is pretty entertaining.
   2. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4405096)
On Ben Davis breaking up Curt Schilling's perfect-game attempt in 2001 with a bunt single:
[The unwritten rules] are stupid. Who cares if you bunt for a base hit? The only guys who criticize him on that are losers. Now if it had been 10-1, maybe. But down 2-0? I’d bunt, too.
Goddammit but he's right.

EDIT: Darnit, this Keri interview...makes me like Pete Rose a little bit more. Which is wrong, and ridiculous. But it's entertaining stuff.
   3. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4405108)
Eso[1], apocryphal or not, agreed.

Eso[2], very mildly disagree; he's just setting different parameters of when his unwritten rules are invoked.
   4. Eric Ferguson Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4405115)
I felt the same as Esoteric when I read this. I'm not supposed to like Rose, but he didn't say a lot that I disagreed with.
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4405125)
nobody has ever denied that you can be entertained by rose.

I hope that keri is not getting s7ckered like poz was by paterno. that would be disappointing.

   6. Dale Sams Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4405133)
I will say this: Call the damn high strike. There's no reason why a pitch between the belt and just at the letters shouldn't be a strike. It's certainly poundable isn't? Well call it.
   7. depletion Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4405134)
We were all entertained by D'Acquisto's stories the other day. He's been convicted more times than Rose. Keri had the good taste to not bring up the Hall of Fame or reinstatement, thankfully.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4405139)
it's always interesting to hear rose talk about stats because boy he knows the numbers as they relate to his career. or at least they have checked out in the past.

   9. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4405145)
Rose on baseball strategy and history is endlessly fascinating. Rose on anything else is just another self-serving internet moron. Nice to see a Rose entry that falls into the first category for a change.
   10. dlf Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4405151)
As long as he stays away from the pity party about reinstatement, I love to hear Rose talk about baseball. There simply was no player who loved the game more, got more out of his talent than did Rose, was more of a student of all the history or analyst of the happenings between the lines. It is a damned shame that he loved gambling even more and has devolved into a parody over the last 30 years. Too much of the conversation now is whether he should have been suspended (he should) whether he should be reinstated (he shouldn't) or whether he hung on too long (he did), but forgotten is the two-decades of passion for the game and excitingly wonderful play.
   11. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4405152)
We were all entertained by D'Acquisto's stories the other day. He's been convicted more times than Rose. Keri had the good taste to not bring up the Hall of Fame or deinstatement, thankfully.
Holy crap, I had absolutely no idea about that. Just googled it after you mentioned this. Major white-collar fraud, eh?
   12. depletion Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4405197)
Eso: Yeah. Makes you wonder about the Billy Martin stories when Billy's not here for verification.
   13. Bug Selig Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4405199)
He never stops talking now


... says (wait for it)... Pete F-ing Rose!"
   14. SteveM. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4405240)
Interesting-D'Acuisto claims to have a PhD from Rochville University in Exercise Science and Physiology. Having never heard of it (and I am in higher ed), it appears to be nothing more then a diploma mill.
   15. Brian Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4405246)
the new San Diego ballpark, and the Met ballpark was a joke to pitch in, so what do they do? They bring the fences in! So it’s gonna be worse.


Does this make any sense? Petco was a joke to pitch in? Really?
   16. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4405272)
It's certainly poundable isn't? Well call it.


The pitch from Santos that mark Reynolds hit out the other night was almost shoulder high, and he didn't even have to tomahawk it.
   17. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4405274)
Interesting-D'Acuisto claims to have a PhD from Rochville University in Exercise Science and Physiology. Having never heard of it (and I am in higher ed), it appears to be nothing more then a diploma mill.


Looks like someone also edited Dags BBref page to claim he was setup, despite massive evidence to the contrary.
   18. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4405276)
-D'Acuisto claims to have a PhD from Rochville University in Exercise Science and Physiology

I hear he was a graduate of the Gold Medal Class of Ought-5 from the Gary Conservatory of Music.

Next up for him is the Sheboygan Conservatory of Music.
   19. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4405435)
On Ben Davis breaking up Curt Schilling's perfect-game attempt in 2001 with a bunt single:
[The unwritten rules] are stupid. Who cares if you bunt for a base hit? The only guys who criticize him on that are losers. Now if it had been 10-1, maybe. But down 2-0? I’d bunt, too.


And who cares if you throw a change-up to a guy trying to extend a hitting streak...right, Pete?
   20. Jonah Keri Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4405472)
@Harveys: I try to be pretty clear-eyed about these things. My goal was just to turn on the recorder, ask questions about topics in which I had interest (baseball strategy, umpires etc) and not bother with the Hall of Fame stuff, then just see where the conversation went from there.

I'll say this, though: Whatever one thinks of his other traits, the guy's pretty damn smart.
   21. bread and rice Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4405485)
Maybe it's just me, but

That’s why we’ve got the best pension in the world


and

I’ve got a lot of bills, so I need to do this.


Don't seem to quite agree with each other.

Oh, wait

I don’t gamble that way; I never did. I’ll bet on a horse.


Now I know what he means by "bills"

   22. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4405491)
Jonah

thanks for the follow up.

I have my own personal knowledge of rose since our paths crossed many a time at horsetracks.

I know full well how engaging he can be. but I also know the lesser parts of his person.

I don't want to see a writer I enjoy be beguiled
   23. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4405535)
Raconteurs are a lot of fun to be around. That doesn't mean you should believe what they tell you.
   24. depletion Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4405557)
Thanks for the fine interview, Jonah.
Regards,
Tim
   25. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4405596)
Does this make any sense? Petco was a joke to pitch in? Really?


He either means "joke" in the opposite sense he used it earlier, to say that Petco is an extreme pitcher's park, or he misspoke and meant to say that it's a joke in which to hit.
   26. Perry Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4405690)
And who cares if you throw a change-up to a guy trying to extend a hitting streak...right, Pete?


If you can find a quote to the contrary I'd be willing to admit I'm wrong, but I always thought he got a bad rap on this. My understanding of his complaint -- and as a fan watching the game at the time I agreed -- is that it wasn't about Garber throwing changeups, it was Garber throwing changeups OUTSIDE THE STRIKE ZONE.

He didn't want a fastball to hit so much as he wanted, and expected, Garber to throw strikes with a 12-run lead in the 9th.
   27. depletion Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4405703)
Pete's quote was: "He was pitching like it was the 7th game of the World Series".
Upon hearing this Gene commented: "He was hitting like it was the 7th game of the World Series"
   28. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4405721)
Has Rose ever talked publicly about the "Hey, #### you, Shakespeare" jeer to Jim Bouton after Ball Four was published?
   29. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4405739)
He either means "joke" in the opposite sense he used it earlier, to say that Petco is an extreme pitcher's park, or he misspoke and meant to say that it's a joke in which to hit.
Yeah, this is how I took it as well. Petco and Citifield are jokes in the opposite direction, supposedly too "friendly" to pitchers, so now THEY'RE having their dimensions shrunk as well (he could've mentioned Safeco too). His point is, all the factors favor the batter over the pitcher.

Now that I think about it...has there ever been an example of a stadium which had its dimensions INCREASED? As in, moving the fences BACK?
   30. boteman Posted: April 05, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4405762)
At least Dan Haren is laughing:

"@ZuckermanCSN: Dan Haren's debut inning as a Nat: Two flyball outs, a 2-out single by Votto, then struck out Phillips on a 91 mph fastball."
   31. Steve Treder Posted: April 05, 2013 at 07:47 PM (#4405776)
has there ever been an example of a stadium which had its dimensions INCREASED? As in, moving the fences BACK?

Yes, back in the 1950s/60s it happened numerous times. Teams farted around with their fences a lot back then (most notoriously Charlie Finley's A's in Kansas City), moving them in here, then back there. It was easy to do when the fence was just chain link placed arbitrarily across the field.

Kind of tough to do in the modern era when the ballparks are constructed with permanent concrete grandstands all around the outfield.
   32. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 05, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4405781)
There are no unwritten rules if somebody has a perfect game going and the score is 10-1.
   33. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: April 05, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4405805)
If you can find a quote to the contrary I'd be willing to admit I'm wrong, but I always thought he got a bad rap on this. My understanding of his complaint -- and as a fan watching the game at the time I agreed -- is that it wasn't about Garber throwing changeups, it was Garber throwing changeups OUTSIDE THE STRIKE ZONE.

He didn't want a fastball to hit so much as he wanted, and expected, Garber to throw strikes with a 12-run lead in the 9th.


This is what my Google-Fu turned up:

After the game, Rose was not pleased with Garber's approach to the at-bat and treating the situation "like it was the ninth inning of the 7th game of the World Series". Rose also voiced his displeasure with the Braves' pitchers for not challenging him, "Phil Niekro would have given me a fastball to hit."


To his credit, Pete (or whoever's writing) has been pretty gracious toward Geno in his books.
   34. Bruce Markusen Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4405888)
Garber fell behind 2-and-1 to Rose, and then threw two consecutive change-ups to Rose; both of them were strikes. They were tough change-ups--that was Garber's out pitch--but they were within the strike zone.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: April 06, 2013 at 02:07 AM (#4406033)
There are no unwritten rules if somebody has a perfect game going and the score is 10-1.

But at least one of the written rules has been broken!
   36. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 06, 2013 at 06:01 AM (#4406046)
Even Nixon's image was rehabilitated in some circles.
   37. bobm Posted: April 06, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4406072)
I’m in the league two weeks, playing in St. Louis. Gibson hits a double, I’m playing second base.


More like four months than two weeks, but otherwise checks out.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196307310.shtml

   38. gehrig97 Posted: April 06, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4406137)
Rose's memory is pretty legendary. I've read several articles over the years wherein the reporter/writer commented on Rose's near total recall of events, statistics, etc. He's in his 70s now, so he can be forgiven for occasionally getting dates/numbers wrong... but all in all, he's one of the game's great raconteurs. Makes his personal failings all the more unfortunate--he could have been the game's greatest ambassador.

I saw him several times at his previous autograph gig--also in Vegas. I'd have a cigar and a drink at Casa Fuente (directly across from Pete's perch in the memorabilia shop across the way). Most of the time, the shop was empty, and it made for a poignant scene. On one occasion, Pete came into the cigar shop -- ordered a coffee to go (I didn't say anything to him). I asked the waitress, "Hey, what's he like?" Her response? "He's always really nice to the waitresses, but the managers can't stand him."

Take that for exactly what it's worth (nothing).
   39. OsunaSakata Posted: April 06, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4406141)
At least Dan Haren is laughing:

"@ZuckermanCSN: Dan Haren's debut inning as a Nat: Two flyball outs, a 2-out single by Votto, then struck out Phillips on a 91 mph fastball."


Is he still laughing? Haren gave up four home runs in four innings.
   40. OsunaSakata Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4410012)
Because you need to see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okSIywgQXL8

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