Just when you thought Pete Rose couldn’t get more offensive, the Phillies let him out of his cave.

Appearing at an official Phillies event for the first time since receiving a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989, Rose, 81, received a mostly welcome reception from fans as he took the field donning a crisp, clean powder blue, No. 14 uniform.

It was only minutes later that he stained it forever with the insensitivity that spewed from his mouth.

First, he was approached by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Alex Coffey. She asked him what he felt about the notion that his presence at this event sends a negative message to women.

Here’s how he responded:


That might have been OK to say in 1967. Or 1980. Hell, maybe even as recently as, like 2010 it may have drawn eye rolls and whispered comments, but wouldn’t have had backlash.

Today? No bueno.

And it would be no bueno for an everyday guy like me or any of my colleagues here at Crossing Broad. But what makes it worse coming from Rose is the story from “55 years ago” that he was referring to in his response to Coffey.

That story, which is alleged to have started when Rose was 34, so, 49 years ago, in 1973, was an ongoing sexual relationship with a minor female, who, at the time, was 14 years old.

Rose admitted to having this relationship, but insisted he believed she was 16 years old, which, in Ohio, is the legal age of consent.

That story came to light in 2017, the same year the Phillies previously tried to drag him out of hiding and welcome him back to Philadelphia.

They were planning to induct him into the team’s Wall of Fame but cancelled when those allegations arose.

Five years later, Rose embarrassed the organization again. And why? For what? To try and sell a few extra tickets to a Sunday afternoon game in August?

It would have been fine if they had him show up, wave to the crowd, and leave. After all, he did receive a mostly warm reception.

But then they made him available to the media. And this was after what he said to Coffey.

It started with some fluff about coming back and how the fans made him feel (He said they made him feel good).

It was followed by a short discussion of the game today, and for the briefest of moments you could almost put aside the feeling of your skin crawling as you listen to him talk about the sport. He is, admittedly, very engaging and almost a savant when talking about the art of hitting — in this case about beating pitchers who throw hard and hitting around the shift.

But just as quickly as he went down that path, he reverted back to being a crumb.


The question came from intrepid AP reporter Dan Gelston, who, to be fair, is my age, and although we may not have been born in 1973, we did arrive soon thereafter.

But Pete’s dismissal of the allegations, solely because they were a long time ago is what is most disturbing. The relationship was despicable. He was a sexual predator. It was statutory.  But shrugging it aside because of when it took place and not taking any other ownership of the wrongness of it other than he “thought” she was of age is what infuriates so many, never mind the fact that the act, in and of itself, is infuriating enough.

The Phillies had to know these questions would come, right? They had to know Rose’s responses wouldn’t be good, right? So, why even make him available for questions? That’s a major, major error in judgement.

But wait, there’s more.

And it’s funny, because I recently went on our Crossed Up  podcast and talked about how post-interview conversations go on all the time, and sometimes they are a little contentious, but they are assumed to be off the record.

This stemmed from the Jim Salisbury-Nick Castellanos spat that went viral when a 6ABC camera man left his camera rolling after the interview was over and caught the spat on video, which was then shared on Twitter and viewed more than 3.4 million times.

In that case, you don’t put that out there. It’s not a conversation for public consumption.

But, what happened next for Rose, while likely also meant to be off record, deserves no such protection.

Rose, still sitting in his seat and still indignant as ever, had one of his handlers bring Coffey over to try and resolve the “babe” comment from earlier.

The handler was trying to speak for Pete and kept saying to him, “You didn’t mean to offend her, right?” When Rose said, “What did I call you?” as if he didn’t know.

Coffey told him she had introduced herself as a reporter for the Inquirer and that he called her “babe.”

His first response was, “They’re not going to throw me in jail for it.”

Coffey was incredulous, as she should have been. Then Rose, ever the huckster, said, “If I give you 1,000 (signed) balls will that make it better?”

You can’t make this up.

Finally, he did say he was sorry, all while the handler repeatedly said he didn’t mean anything by the “babe” comment. Coffey just nodded and walked away. She handled it much more professionally than others would have.

If only the Phillies would have seen this coming. If only there was a track record they could have used as a guide. If only there was some vetting they could have done.

I’m one of two people here at Crossing Broad who got to watch Pete Rose play baseball. It is with that standing that I can make an argument that he was a Hall of Fame player on the field.

But my age and experience serve me no advantage over anyone else to see he is also a Hall of Fame schmuck, and that is far more important than any accomplishments made playing a sport.

Shame the Phillies lost sight of that.