Statutory Rape Allegations Lead Philadelphia Phillies To Cancel Pete Rose Festivities
Guest post by Adam Taxin
The Philadelphia Phillies, currently tied for the worst record in Major League Baseball, have added another bit of humiliation to their embarrassing 2017 season. For relatively understandable public relations reasons, the team has disinvited its former first baseman (1979-1983) Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader, from its Alumni Weekend festivities at Citizens Bank Park from August 10-13.
As stated by Victor Fiorillo of Philadelphia magazine:
“The cancellation of this weekend’s events comes on the heels of court documents released on Monday showing that a woman has accused Rose of having sex with her when he was in his mid-30s and she was not yet 16.”
As first reported by by Howard Eskin of Sports Radio 94 WIP in Philadelphia, the Phillies “will cancel Pete Rose Wall Of Fame night. Tuesday it was a go but something had to change their mind 2day”
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) August 2, 2017
According to Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal/Delawareonline.com,
“As part of the decision, Rose’s plaque will not be added to the Phillies Wall of Fame in his absence. A source close to the team said there are no indications Rose will be added to future Wall of Fame ballots.”
Additionally, as part of ther decision, the Phillies have canceled plans to distribute Pete Rose bobble figurines on Friday, August 11.
According to Rose, in a statement prepared by the Phillies: “While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year’s Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate.”
A cursory look at Twitter suggested that fan reaction to the Phillies’ decision has been mixed:
There goes the only reason to go to a Phillies game this season.
— Sammy Fortune (@Sammyfortune) August 2, 2017
Yes, cancel the one night I actually want to go pay and watch your farm league baseball team. Good move. @Phillies
— Rue 📺 (@RueTVcomedy) August 2, 2017
— The Sports Grump (@TheSportsGrump) July 31, 2017
In a statement in April upon winning the fan voting for the Phillies Wall of Fame, Rose had said:
“I am very honored to be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame … My baseball years in Philadelphia were amazing, not just because we won it all in 1980 and came close in 1983, but also because the fans welcomed me from day one. The team’s great ownership and talented roster attracted me to Philadelphia as a free agent. I knew we could experience great success.”
The other nominees this year for the fan vote for the Phillies Wall of Fame were: Steve Bedrosian (relief pitcher, 1986-89), Larry Christenson (starting pitcher, 1973-83), Jim Fregosi (manager, 1991-96), Gene Garber (relief pitcher, 1974-78), Placido Polanco (infielder, 2002-05, 2010-12), Ron Reed (relief pitcher, 1976-83), Scott Rolen (third baseman, 1996-02), Manny Trillo (second baseman, 1979-82) and Rick Wise (starting pitcher, 1964; 1966-71).
Lenny “Nails” Dykstra (outfielder, 1989-96; runner-up for NL MVP in 1993, when the Phillies were National League Champions), a fan favorite like Rose, was not included among the candidates. This suggests that the Phillies, presumably expecting poor overall attendance due to a probable lackluster season on the field, did not want to split the “fan favorite” vote, pretty much setting up a sure Rose victory and thus at least one well-attended game, on Sunday, August 12, when the 2017 Wall of Fame induction would have taken place.