Red Sox

Phillies cancel Pete Rose ceremony amid statutory rape allegations

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Phillies cancel Pete Rose ceremony amid statutory rape allegations

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies have canceled plans to honor Pete Rose next week because of a woman's claim she had a sexual relationship with baseball's hit king when she was a minor.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe this week in a court filing, said Rose called her in 1973, when she was 14 or 15, and they began a sexual relationship in Cincinnati that lasted several years. She also alleges Rose met her in locations outside Ohio for sex.

Rose's lawyer says the woman's claims are unverified. Rose acknowledged in a statement accompanying Monday's filing that he did have a relationship with the woman, but he said it started when she was 16. He also states they never had sex outside Ohio. At the time, Rose was in his mid-30s and was married with two kids.

The Phillies were going to induct Rose into their Wall of Fame in an on-field ceremony on Aug. 12. Rose bobbleheads were going to be distributed on Aug. 11.

The Phillies will not give away the collectibles and said fans with tickets for either game can exchange them or get a refund.

"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," Rose said.

Rose, who agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989, made four All-Star appearances and helped the Phillies to one of their two World Series championships during his five seasons in Philadelphia from 1979-83.

Rose was selected through fan voting and was set to become the 39th inductee into the club's 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," he said in April.

But public pressure against Rose played a role in the Phillies' decision to scrap the tribute.

The women's claim became public from testimony presented by the defense as part of a federal lawsuit Rose filed last year in Philadelphia against a lawyer whose investigation concluded the Cincinnati native bet on the Reds while managing the team, leading Rose to agree to the lifetime ban.

Rose contends John Dowd defamed him by saying on the radio that the former baseball great had raped young teen girls during spring training. Rose has acknowledged having a relationship with the woman beginning when she was 16, the age of consent in Ohio.

Rose alleges in the lawsuit that Dowd damaged his reputation and endorsement deals during a July 2015 interview on WCHE-AM radio.

Dowd said during the radio appearance that Rose associate Michael Bertolini told investigators he "ran young girls" to Rose during spring training, which Dowd called "statutory rape every time," according to Rose's lawsuit. Bertolini's lawyers have denied that.

Rose's personal problems never seemed to affect his popularity in baseball. He's a regular on the autograph circuit and does broadcast work for Fox.

The Cincinnati Reds unveiled a bronze sculpture this season outside Great American Ball Park depicting Rose's headfirst slide. He was inducted into the Reds' Hall of Fame last June and had his No. 14 retired.

The 76-year-old hits leader has never been on baseball's Hall of Fame ballot under a 1991 rule adopted by the Hall's board of directors making anyone with a permanent ban ineligible. Commissioner Rob Manfred has denied Rose's latest petition for reinstatement, but the Hall, not MLB, sets the rules for ballot eligibility.

The fourth annual Philly Sports Roast also said it canceled its Aug. 10 event with Rose as the guest of honor. Tickets that started at $150 will be refunded.

Philadelphia's SugarHouse Casino said it canceled Rose's scheduled Aug. 12 autograph signing that was to be held just hours before his Wall of Fame induction. Refunds also were available for those tickets.

The Phillies will still honor more than 40 alumni next weekend.

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

For the glass-is-half-full folks, there are those back-to-back Eastern Division titles. For the glass-is-half-empty folks, well, there are those two first-round playoff ousters (though both their conquerers made it to the World Series, and one of them won it). But, here on Thanksgiving night, there's plenty for Red Sox Nation to be thankful for, starting with . . . 


YOUR GOOD HEALTH

We know you don’t need the Red Sox to know you how important the most basic elements of life are. But sometimes, the typical fantasy land of baseball can grab our attention. The death of 17-year-old Sox prospect Daniel Flores (above) this month from complications because of cancer didn’t take away only a potentially great baseball career. It took away a beloved, hard-working young person from the people who loved him. He had just made millions of dollars in July for his talent on the field, but what does such a windfall matter compared to one’s health? His cancer was both rare and fast-moving, per the Boston Globe.

MOOKIE, JACKIE, XANDER, BENINTENDI, DEVERS

The kids deserve some love. They probably won’t be together on the Red Sox forever. Heck, the group could get broken up this winter. But while any of the Killer B’s (plus a D) remain on the Sox, there should be a sense of optimism. Two straight 93-win seasons may have resulted in a first-round exit, and 2017 didn’t meet expectations for some individual performances. But you know what? The youths are still damn good, and there’s time for them to show us they can be even better.

INSANELY GOOD PITCHERS IN CHRIS SALE AND CRAIG KIMBREL

Neither hogs the spotlight once the game ends or says too much. Sale doesn’t even have Twitter. But the righty closer and lefty starter both do two things exceedingly well: make batters swing and miss, and prevent runs. When both pitch, your seat at the park may well be worth the price of admission. (But we won’t ask what you paid for those seats.) Sale didn’t take down Pedro Martinez’s Sox single-season strikeout record this year, finishing with five fewer than Martinez’s 313 in 1999. But he could have done it. And with a little more rest next year, one can envision him plowing his way through playoff opponents too.

ALEX CORA'S NEW DIRECTION

A first-time manager’s not a sure thing, but as Sox owner John Henry noted, there was a feeling it was time for a change. It’s a little early to be thinking ahead to a New Year’s resolution, but a manager who better connects with his players and brings a different vibe to the day-to-day scene is reason to feel the Sox are following the right road map. Plus, if nothing else, Cora took that awesome picture walking toward Fenway.

A CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SPREE MAY BE AROUND THE CORNER

We don’t want to be too materialistic. But Uncle Dave Dombrowski couldn’t let you buy everything you wanted last year. The credit card companies needed him to step back for a year. Now he’s ready to spend. He might not close down Bloomingdale’s for the day for you to do your private shopping, but if you need a couple great jackets to complete your look, it sounds like he’s ready to get you some designer threads. He probably feels there won’t be too many chances to have a moment like this with you, at this stage of your life, and he wants to make the most of it.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

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Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

BOSTON — There is a world outside of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton, at this point, simply doesn’t appear likely to end up in Boston. That should feel obvious to those following along, and so should this: it can change. 

But there are other pursuits. Besides their search for a bat or two, the Red Sox have been actively pursuing left-handed relief options. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is a fast mover, but this year’s market has not been.

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Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad are both free agents, leaving Robby Scott as the lone incumbent southpaw from last season's primary group. Brian Johnson is bound for the pen, with Roenis Elias as a depth option too.  Still, even if Johnson’s transition pans out, the Sox still have an opening for a late-inning reliever with the departure of free agent Addison Reed. 

Reed is a righty, but between Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel, the Sox have more right-handed choices than left. Coming back from surgery, Tyler Thornburg, should be in the mix eventually too, but it's difficult to expect too much from him.

What the Red Sox should do: sign one of each for the bullpen, one righty, and one lefty. And then trade a righty or two. Turn some of that mishmash into an addition elsewhere. Be creative. 

Because inevitably, come midseason, the Sox will want to add another bullpen arm if they sign just one now. Why wait until you have to give up prospect capital when you can just add the piece you want now?

Go get a near-sure thing such as Pat Neshek, a veteran who walks no one and still strikeouts a bunch. At 37 with an outgoing personality, Neshek also brings leadership to a team that is looking for some. He walked just six guys in 62 innings last season. Entering his 12th season in the majors, he’s looking for his first ring.

All these top of the market relievers may be handsomely paid. But relievers are still something of a bargain compared to position players and starting pitchers. One of the key words for this winter should be creativity. If there’s value to be had in the reliever market, capitalize on it. 

Comeback kid Mike Minor, Jake McGee and Tony Watson headline the crop of free agent lefties available. Brad Hand of the Padres could also be had by trade but his market isn’t moving too quickly (and he won’t come cheaply).

Minor, 29, who posted a 2.55 ERA in 2017 after health issues kept him out of the majors in 2015-16, is expected to be paid handsomely. He is also open to the idea of potentially starting if a team is interested in him doing so. The Royals reportedly could give him that shot.

McGee’s American League East experience could be appealing.

He's 31 and had a 3.61 ERA with the Rockies in 2017 and has a 3.15 ERA lifetime. He’s not quite the strikeout pitcher he was earlier in his career — he had an 11.6 K/9 in 2015 — but a 9.1 K/9 is still very strong, particularly when coupled with just 0.6 homers allowed per nine.

For what it’s worth: McGee has also dominated the Red Sox, who have a .125 average, .190 on-base percentage and .192 slugging against him in 117 regular-season plate appearances. 

McGee throws a mid-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. He can operate up in the zone, and he actually has been even more effective against righties than lefties in his career, including in 2017. McGee’s been a closer, too, with 44 career saves.

The Sox had the second-best bullpen in the majors by ERA in 2017, at 3.07. Yet, come the postseason, there wasn’t a sense of great confidence or even a clear shape to the pecking order behind one of the absolute best relievers in the game, Kimbrel.