Wild About Things

Pete Rose coming to CEP


The Wild Things announced Tuesday that baseball's all-time hit king Pete Rose is coming to Consol Energy Park in June to sell his autograph.

My first reaction when I heard the news was this:

Why?

Well, the reason obviously is Rose is hitting the independent leagues this summer to make some money and drum up sympathy, er, uh, support, from the general public for his banishment from baseball to be overturned. Rose's representatives formally filed paperwork last month with new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred requesting reinstatement.

For $40, fans can purchase an autograph ticket for Rose to sign June 30 during the Wild Things' game against Lake Erie. For $100, you can purchase a VIP package that includes a 100-minute meet and greet with Rose.

And remember, apparently because he is banned from baseball, Rose will only sign Wild Things merchandise. No Cincinnati Reds or MLB gear will be autographed, so make sure you get to the CEP merchandise store early.

Hey, if you want to pay outrageous prices to see a legend up close, then go for it. I have no problem with that. Heck, I just paid a lot more than $100 to see the Rolling Stones from 50 yards away, so I can't criticize anybody for wanting to see a person who had more hits -- the baseball kind, not the rock and roll variety -- than anybody in history.

What did cause me to wonder why Wild Things ownership decided to bring Rose to Washington has nothing to do with Charlie Hustle's betting on baseball, his banishment from the game, his wanting to be in the Hall of Fame or the high price of becoming one of at least a million people across the country to own a Pete Rose autograph. Instead, it had everything to do with Rose being the guy Pittsburgh Pirates fans loved to hate during his playing days. That's why my first reaction to the Rose-to-CEP news was this:

Pete Rose? What, was Francisco Cabrera busy that day? Or Barry Bonds? Or Ken Stabler? Or Bobby Clarke? Or Aroldis Chapman? Or Ray Lewis? Or Alexander Ovechkin? These are the players Pittsburgh sports fans have despised.

This is like having Franco Harris sign autographs in Cleveland. Or Sidney Crosby signing in Philadelphia. Or Goliath signing autographs in David's back yard. There's just something wrong about crossing enemy lines, even after all these years.

Maybe I'm wrong about the dislike for Rose. Maybe I can't get over the fact I grew up in Pirates territory during the Lumber Company and Big Red Machine days but my best friend was -- and still is -- a diehard Reds fans. So Rose's success was always a thorn in my side. Perhaps it's because I am a child of the '70s that this seems so odd. People younger than I probably find nothing wrong with Pete Rose being in Washington.

I can't say anything bad about the way Rose played the game. He played the right way. He played hard, he played to win, he didn't miss games with injuries and the guy could roll out of bed during a winter blizzard and go 2-for-5. What he did on the field, I can totally respect.

I just think there are better options -- many of them current or former Pirates and Steelers -- than Rose to bring to Washington to sign autographs.

If you can't make it CEP June 30, don't feel badly. You can always wait for Bill Belichick Day at the ballpark next year.Read full post: Pete Rose coming to CEP

3 caught in a draft

The Wild Things made three selections Tuesday in the Frontier League draft that concluded a two-day open tryout in Avon, Ohio.

Washington chose right-handed pitcher Joe Iorio of Venice, Fla., with the 10th pick in the first round, then made two picks in the second round. With the 17th selection the third pick of the second round the Wild Things chose right-handed pitcher Ernesto Zaragoza of Fontana, Calif. Five picks later, Washington selected catcher John Fidanza of Zachary, La.

Iorio played at two colleges, beginning his career at North Florida before transferring to Barry (Fla.) for the final two seasons. He was 3-5 with 3.30 ERA for Barry in 2014, his senior year.

Zaragoza was drafted in the 25th round by the Seattle Mariners in 2010 out of high school. He pitched in 10 games at the rookie level over two seasons before being released. Zaragoza pitched for White Sands of the independent Pecos League in 2013 and had a 2-3 record and 5.10 ERA.

Fidanza played college baseball at four different schools. He began his career at Coastal Carolina and ended it last spring at Georgia Gwinnett. Fadanza batted .281 and threw out 52 percent (17 of 33) of potential basestealers at Georgia Gwinnett and helped the Grizzlies to the NAIA World Series.

The Normal CornBelters chose pitcher Robert Stock with the No. 1 overall pick. Stock, who played college baseball at Southern California, is a former second-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals and spent six years in their minor-league system.

By my count, the Wild Things have 36 players under contract for spring training that begins Thursday. Of the 36 players, 21 are pitchers. Fidanza, however, is the only catcher signed so far. That's 21 pitchers and one catcher. Here's thinking the Wild Things will be announcing the signing of two or three catchers in the next two days. Either that or Fidanza's knees will be giving out by the weekend.Read full post: 3 caught in a draft

What do you think?