On Monday night, Pete Rose made his TV debut as an analyst for Fox Sports. And while Rose definitely can improve in his role, he also showed that if he wants, he can have a long, successful future in television.
Rose appeared on three different Fox programs on Monday – America’s Pregame, MLB Whiparound, and Fox Sports Live. He seemed most natural on Whiparound with Chris Myers and C.J. Nitkowski, discussing what was going on during the early games and offering some insight. For example, when talking about the Chicago Cubs and Jon Lester, Rose explained that he didn’t think Lester was an ideal fit for the team because of his tendency to allow fly balls and the way balls rocket out of Wrigley in the summer when the weather warms up and the wind is blowing out. Sure, that analysis isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it’s based in logic, and isn’t some sort of hot take.
The America’s Pregame segment with Rose and Mike Hill was awkward, simply because it seemed to exist to introduce fans to Rose. The questions didn’t require much insight: “what do you think about Alex Rodriguez hitting 661?”, “what rule would you change if you were Commissioner for a day?”, “do you think anyone can break your hits record?”. Instead of questions you’d ask a new analyst, they were questions you’d ask a guest during a car wash at the studios. Given it was a Monday, there was no day baseball, and it was Rose’s first day at the network, I’m not going to slam Fox and Rose for the segment. Hopefully his future segments on APG feature more analysis.
Rose’s Fox Sports Live segment started with something odd, right out of the ESPN playbook that drives us all crazy – Cole Wright asking for Rose’s thoughts about Tom Brady. Really? C’mon, Fox Sports, I don’t think anyone really gives a damn about that at all. The rest of the segment was pretty bland, mainly focused on Bryce Harper without much analysis involved. In case you’re curious, Rose (like nearly everyone in baseball) would prefer Mike Trout over Harper, but completed his clean sweep of Andrew McCutchen mentions on the day by mentioning that the Pirates star needs more love in discussions about the best player in baseball.
What I liked about Rose was his humor and candor. He didn’t sugar coat any of his answers, and spoke bluntly. Why don’t you like players only meetings? Because they’re a waste of time and don’t change anything. Hey, that takes care of it. As his segments went along, Rose got more and more comfortable with his cohorts on set, and everything began to flow better. With more experience on set, the chemistry that Rose has with his more experienced Fox coworkers will grow.
All in all, I’d say day one of the Pete Rose era at Fox Sports was a success. Social media was abuzz with talk about Rose, and most of the feedback towards his appearance was positive. As time goes on and Rose becomes a regular fixture on Fox’s airwaves, I’d expect him to thrive as an analyst…as long as he keeps at it.