That “significant” Bluefish announcement? It’s just Pete Rose

P.T. Barnum would have been proud.
On Friday afternoon, the Bridgeport Bluefish issued a press release saying that they were going to make a “significant” announcement on Saturday, one that would have an “impact on all of professional baseball.”
And of course, rumors flew. Was the team being sold? Were they going to leave the Atlantic League and become affliated? Was the Ballpark at Harbor Yard finally getting some naming rights?
No, no and no.
Instead, the Bluefish pulled off an impressive circus side show publicity stunt right in Barnum’s backyard. That big, “significant” announcement? Here you go … Pete Rose is coming to Bridgeport next Monday night to manage the Bluefish for one game.
Ta da. That’s it.
“I’m doing this because I love baseball,” Rose said in a statement released by the Bluefish.
No he’s not. Not really. Rose is doing this because the Bluefish are paying him a “significant” appearance fee to come to Bridgeport. There is a “special” meet-and-greet package with Rose currently being set up by the team (details later) and you can bet the house general manager Ken Shepard is hoping that the place is packed for next Monday’s game against the Lancaster Barnstormers because right now, Bridgeport is dead last in attendance, averaging just 2,182 a game.
But you know what? Good for the Bluefish. If Shepard felt the ‘Fish needed to make a PR splash then he just cannon-balled into the deep end off the 16-foot platform. Rose is the all-time hits leader in major league baseball with 4,256 and has been banned from the game by major league baseball since 1989 after it was discovered that – while manager of the Cincinnati Reds – Rose bet on baseball.
He is probably the one player, love him or hate him, that people still talk about with passion today around the water cooler. In a Q and A session over the phone in the Harbor Club with Rose – the team even passed out red roses to members of the media to celebrate the event – he seemed generally excited about coming to Bridgeport and talking and working with the Bluefish players, and both Shepard and manager Willie Upshaw seemed excited about Rose’s appearance too.
Like I said, P.T. Barnum would have been proud.
Next Monday night, the circus comes to the Ballpark at Harbor Yard and in the center ring … Pete Rose.