I was glancing through some random sport news items when I saw the solicitation for Pete Rose’s reality show “Pete Rose: Hits and Mrs.” In it, the 71 year old trots out his fiancee, 30 year model, Kiana Kim.
There’s a part of you that wants to be fair, even in situations that seem completely obvious. But its hard not be cynical about this. Its two desperate people that need a buck making it in one of the many unsavory ways that are available to people in the entertainment industry. It is the distant cousin of the sex tape. In many ways, it was sort of unremarkable.
For me, it was more than that.
Years ago, I worked (briefly) at a call center for a cable company. I got a call from a delightful woman in Ohio. As it turns out, it was Pete Rose’s wife, Carol Woliung.
Throwing professionalism out of the window, I immediately told her I thought that Pete belonged in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know much about baseball, but I do know that Carol was Pete’s biggest fan. We talked for a while about the insanity of Ty Cobb sitting in a Hall of Fame that’s somehow too “moral” to allow Pete Rose.
And then she told me to jot down their phone number and address and to call them when I came to Ohio. She was completely serious. She just was that hospitable. It isn’t realistic for me to crash at Pete Rose’s place (God knows I thought about it). But it blew me away that she was that genuinely kind.
I deal with a reasonable amount of athletes now. I’ve found most of them to be either nice or at least tolerable. Often though, their wives and girlfriends don’t make the best impression. Carol was different.
And then she got ditched like an old luxury car. Even while she was still married, she had to endure Pete Rose going on Howard Stern with his girlfriend and talking about their sex life. Now she gets to see him on television with the girl he met from the hair salon.
Now, I don’t know what happened in their marriage. There’s two sides to every story I suppose. Like I said, you try to be fair. But it sure looks like Pete benched his biggest fan. And even in a 25 year freefall of a life, this seems to count as a miss.