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Pete Rose knows a thing or two about baseball. Hall of Fame banishment aside, Major League Baseball’s all-time hit king spent 24 seasons in the big leagues and finished with a career batting average of .303. Known as Charlie Hustle, Rose played the game as hard as anyone and as long as anyone. He is also the all-time leader in games played with 3,562. For seven years, Rose led the league in hits and is a three-time batting champion. The Rookie of the Year in 1963, Rose is a 17-time MLB All-Star and was named the National League’s MVP in 1973. When it comes to talking baseball, Rose knows his stuff. Recently, he offered some insight and some advice to players who will have a delayed start to their 2020 season.

Pete Rose’s banishment from Major League Baseball

Despite all of Pete Rose’s gaudy statistics, he has been banned from Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame triggered by gambling issues during his playing days.

In February of 1989, Rose was questioned by then-commissioner Peter Ueberroth and National League President Bart Giamatti about betting on baseball. Although Rose vehemently denied the charges, Sports Illustrated came out with a detailed report of Rose’s gambling habits. In August of 1989, Rose accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list, while MLB would agree to make no formal finding with the gambling issues. Individuals on the ineligible list were excluded from being voted into the Hall of Fame.

In 2004, Rose penned an autobiography My Prison Without Bars and he admitted to betting on baseball games (including Reds games) and other sports while he was playing and managing for the Reds. Although he is ineligible for Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, Rose was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2016.

Rose’s advice to players this year: Stay sharp and be ready

Pete Rose knows there will be baseball this season. Like most sporting events taking place now, the Major League Baseball season has been put on hold indefinitely due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The start of the season in indefinitely pushed back, but Rose is telling players to make sure they are ready to go.

“They’re going to play baseball someday this year, and that’ll be Opening Day. Cincinnati fans will come out on Opening Day,” Rose told WCPO 9 Sports Director Caleb Noe by phone this week. “They’ll sell out and that’s what we have to live with because that is what we’ve got.

“If I was [playing] today, I would find a cage somewhere. There are cages around. I’d go every day and take batting practice. Today, you can even go to places indoors where you can take fly balls and ground balls. The only thing I missed during the strike of ’81 was games.”

Rose believes teams with the best bullpens will have the advantage

Pete Rose also said he believes baseball will have a shortened season and will cut down spring training in order to get in as many games as they can. Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said he can’t see a situation where players begin a season without a second spring training. He said players would likely need four weeks.

“Knowing that so many players are not even having any access to throwing at all or hitting at all, but most importantly just throwing, and probably limited access to just training and exercise, it’s hard to imagine we could get ready in less than four weeks,” Shapiro said.

Rose hinted that baseball will think about money, meaning they might cut spring training down even more to play more games.

“I guarantee they’re going to cut spring training short to try to get the games in because they need the money. The team with the best bullpen is probably the team that’s going to win the most games.

Pete Rose

“I think that’s going to boil down to the team that’s going to have the pitchers ready to pitch. I don’t know what team that could be. Just because you’ve got the best pitchers in the league doesn’t mean that the best pitchers in the league are going to be ready to pitch when the season starts.”