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A ridiculous assault


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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Mike Jenkens

By Mike Jenkens
Arizona Daily Wildcat, October 28, 1999 Talk about this story

Before game two of the World Series in Atlanta, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was announced. Among the greats in attendance were "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron, "The Splendid Splinter" Ted Williams, "Lefty" Sandy Koufax, "The Say Hey Kid" Willie Mays, "Big Mac" Mark McGwire, "Charlie Hustle" Pete Rose and the rest of the thirty great baseball players that were elected to this team by various sportswriters and fans across the country.

Pete Rose?

Yes, Pete Rose.

Pete Rose was banned from baseball for allegedly betting on his sport and on the team that he managed, the Cincinnati Reds. I say allegedly because Pete maintains that he never bet on baseball and only signed a confession saying that he bet, because the confession said that he could apply and be eligible for re-instatement into baseball after one year of banishment. Earlier in the season, acting commissioner Bud Selig stated that Rose would never be reinstated into baseball as long as he was commissioner. He said Rose would get in over his "cold, dead body." But as the two approached each other on that tepid Atlanta night, everything seemed amicable. Rose later said they shook hands and Rose thanked him for giving him the opportunity to be there. Selig responded with a jovial "You're welcome, Pete."

This was a great night, marking the return of a legend, only if just for one night. Rose received the loudest ovation of anyone on the All-Century team, even louder than Aaron, who played for the hometown Braves

One of my favorite players ever was given the recognition he deserved and for one night was back in the game.

Then disaster struck.

As Rose made his way back to the dugout, NBC reporter Jim Gray asked to interview him. Rose agreed and the debacle began. Gray went right to the betting card and asked Rose all about his alleged infraction against baseball. Rose refused to comment at first, but as Gray continued to ambush him, Rose finally became agitated and responded with, "I feel like I am being prosecuted."

That is exactly what Gray was doing. Out to try to make a name for himself, Gray hammered away at Rose with questions that were completely unwarranted and untimely. This type of interview was wrong. The all-out assault employed by Gray showed what kind of class he had and what kind of man he was. The vindictive, step-on-everybody approach used by Gray in his interviews is abominable and should be ceased for the good of our profession.

At the end of game three, after Chad Curtis hit the winning home run for the Yankees, he was called over by Gray for a postgame interview. After Gray asked his first question, Curtis responded with, "After what you did to Pete, our whole team has chosen not to speak with you." Curtis proceeded to walk-off into the locker room without answering any questions by Gray.

This was a message sent by a entire team that Gray's unprofessional approach will not be tolerated. I hope he gets blacklisted by every team in baseball for what he did to Rose. Gray should be removed from this beat and sent somewhere far away so nobody has to listen to him ramble along anymore. By doing this, NBC would gain back some respect and do us all a big favor.

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