Covering Rose never dull

Looking back on the Cincinnati summers of '88 and '89 when it all came unglued for Pete Rose.

Updated: January 9, 2004, 2:31 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
The best thing about having 15 years of newspaper stories boxed up in your basement is the handy access to history and the way they make memories spring to life. The worst part is, newspaper clips aren't the most flood-friendly keepsakes in the world.

I'm currently holding a clip from the April 7, 1989 Cincinnati Post sports section. It's yellow with age and water-damaged from the great Crasnick sump pump breakdown of 1998, but the message still resonates.

"Rose: I'm not chronic gambler," reads the headline. "He claims distance from gym cohorts."

Through 19 paragraphs and 900 words, Pete Rose, then Cincinnati manager, rationalizes his gambling problem and disassociates himself from Tommy Gioiosa, Paul Janszen and the other Boy Scouts who'd been linked to him in the media. He insists he's glad the commissioner's office is taking its time looking into his situation. "That just means they're doing a thorough investigation," Rose says, with a straight face.

The byline on the story is mine. As it turns out, I wrote a lot of hollow Pete Rose denials in the spring and summer of 1989.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer