Irony of ironies. The magic words we waited so long for Pete Rose to say are now for sale with proceeds benefitting .....Pete Rose.
You knew it wouldn't take long. Turns out it look even less time than we thought.
Not much more than 24 hours after the story about the "confession" baseballs broke in the national media, Pete Rose is now marketing them himself.
An advertisement on his website, PeteRose.com, offers the balls, inscribed "I'm Sorry I Bet on Baseball" and signed by Rose, for $299 each. That's about $250 more than a single-signed, non-inscription ball sells for.
A news release issued Wednesday reads: "Pete Rose announced today that he has given Field of Dreams stores, a division of Dreams, Inc. an exclusive on an autographed baseball with his apology "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" inscribed on the ball."
The balls are available only at Field of Dreams stores nationwide, including the Forum Shops in Las Vegas where Rose appears 52 weeks a year providing autographs and photo opportunities.
"Pete's fans are fiercely loyal and he is a legend," said Jorge Salvat, President of Field of Dreams. "Field of Dreams has a long-term relationship with Pete, and we are the exclusive distributor of this authentic autographed Pete Rose product."
"These 'I'm sorry I bet on baseball' balls are a part of sports history," added Salvat.
Monday morning, word came via the New York Daily News that some 30 baseballs bearing the phrase had been consigned to Robert Edward Auctions. Baseball's all-time hits leader responded by claiming he had signed a group of those baseballs for some friends who vowed to put them away as an investment. Some had wound up in the collection of Barry Halper, and the deceased man's family consigned them to REA for release in the company's April 2007 sale.
Rose quickly decided to capitalize on the publicity and with no exclusive arrangement from the original signing in place, will sign them beginning this week. He appears and signs for a fee for several days each month in an agreement with the Field of Dreams collectibles store in Caesar's Las Vegas.
List of Pete Rose items on eBay