Fans outraged as Phillies plan to include Pete Rose in 1980 World Series celebration
The Philadelphia Phillies are in hot water with fans, and it’s not because they just allowed themselves to be swept at home by the Chicago Cubs for the first time in over two decades.
During the weekend series, Phillies player-turned-broadcaster Larry Bowa announced that Pete Rose would be joining his former teammates as the franchise celebrates the 1980 World Series team on August 7. Rose has never appeared at Citizens Bank Park in any official capacity; he received his lifetime ban from baseball in 1989, decades before the Phillies moved from Veterans Stadium to their current home.
The Phillies attempted to diffuse tensions with an official statement on the upcoming event, but certainly didn’t help their case:
"“In planning the 1980 reunion, we consulted with Pete’s teammates about his inclusion. Everyone wants Pete to be part of the festivities since there would be no trophy in 1980 without him. In addition, the club received permission from the Commissioner’s Office to invite Pete as a member of the championship team.”"
It’s so nice to know that his buddies on the team don’t care about him having sex with teenagers.
Getting permission from the Commissioner’s Office also isn’t a sign of the Phillies going the extra mile, as their statement implies. The lifetime ban bars the person from all manner of MLB and minor-league occupations and activities, including ceremonies such as the upcoming celebration. The commissioner must approve any official appearances, which means that Rob Manfred gave the okay for Rose to be in attendance.
Rose gained a reputation as one of the game’s best hitters before tarnishing said rep by gambling on the game, but to anyone who cares more about who someone is as a person than a player, it’s the sexual impropriety that matters. Rose admitted to having sexual relationships with at least one teenage girl during his playing career when he was a married father more than twice the girl’s age. The woman alleged that she was 14 or 15 when it began, Rose says she was 16, conveniently, the age of consent in Ohio, where he played with the Cincinnati Reds. However, she also said that she saw Rose outside of Ohio as well, in states with an older age of consent. Rose has also been accused of having inappropriate relations with girls as young as 12 during his playing career.
Whether the woman was of the age of consent should only matter in the eyes of the court; a 34-year-old married man having intimate knowledge of a teenage girl is wrong and inappropriate. He was an older man in a position of power; she was barely out of childhood, not much older than Rose’s own children at the time. The only reason he wasn’t charged with statutory rape is that the statute of limitations had expired. MLB’s lifetime ban of Rose stemmed from his gambling, but they’re well aware of these issues, as are the Phillies. They canceled his Wall of Fame induction in 2017 because of the woman’s testimony, so what’s changed since then? Did they think everyone forgot?
Several fans also noted that the Phillies’ continued employment of Odúbel Herrera, who served a lengthy suspension for assaulting his girlfriend, also speaks volumes about their disrespect of women. Their decision to include Rose also drew comparisons to the San Francisco Giants, who excluded Aubrey Huff from their own World Series reunion because of his problematic social media behavior. Less than a year later, Twitter permanently suspended Huff, a punishment only meted out to the worst offenders.
If the Phillies truly cared about celebrating the team accomplishment, then Rose need not be invited. Their words ring hollow; their actions speak volumes.
In a cruel twist, it’s Women in Baseball Week. Nothing says ‘We value women and girls as part of the fabric of the game’ like inviting a sexual predator to be honored at the ballpark.