I debated whether or not to post this here, because in spite of its title, the song itself isn’t actually about baseball. Rather, if you pay attention to the lyrics, you realize the song is about infidelity.
However, the title still grabs your attention if you’re a baseball fan, so I did a little poking around to see what I could find in terms of an explanation. While there is some uncertainty about the general meaning, the consensus seems to be that the title is a reference to Pete Rose — in fact, some people indicate that Fall Out Boy originally included Rose’s name in the title, then changed their minds to avoid the potential for a lawsuit. So instead of using his name, the band referenced Rose’s tendency to utilize headfirst slides.
Beyond that, the connection gets a bit hazy, but here’s what I found that makes a modicum of sense: In the song, the narrator is having an affair with a married woman. He is the other man, if you will. More than anything, he wants the woman for himself. However, due to the fact that she is married (his bad bet), he can never have her. In the same way, Pete Rose has found that he cannot have what he truly wants — a place in Cooperstown — due to his own bad bet.
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully received the Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. This video does a much better job of introducing him and describing Scully’s background than I ever could do in writing, so I’ll just let you hit play and take in his speech as well as the biographical bit that follows.
I love this man’s sense of humor. Earl Weaver managed in Major League Baseball for 17 years with the Baltimore Orioles (1968–82 and 1985–86). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Don Drysdale emphasizes the strain and sacrifices that come with the demanding schedule of a professional ballplayer — especially on the side of that ballplayer’s family. A right-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers for his entire career, Drysdale won the 1962 Cy Young Award, and in 1968, he set a Major League record by pitching six consecutive shutouts and 58 2⁄3 consecutive scoreless innings. Drysdale ended his career with 209 wins, 2,486 strikeouts, 167 complete games and 49 shutouts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
Known in baseball as “Pudge,” Carlton Fisk played for both the Boston Red Sox (1969, 1971–1980) and Chicago White Sox (1981–1993). In 1972, he became the first player unanimously voted American League Rookie of the Year, though he is probably best known for “waving fair” his game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
This speech is the longest one I’ve listened to so far, but it’s worth the time. It’s not hard to get a glimpse of the kind of work ethic and character that Fisk possessed through this oration. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Joe Morgan was named the National League MVP in 1975 and 1976, also winning World Series championships with the Reds in those years. He stole at least forty bases in nine seasons during his career and he led the National League in on-base percentage and walks four times each. Considered one of the best second basemen of all time, Morgan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
The Chicago White Stockings sold National League batting champion and future Hall of Famer Mike Kelly to the Boston Beaneaters on February 14, 1887 for what was at that time a record $10,000. Kelly would earn the nickname “King” while in Boston, where he would hit .311 during this three-year span with the team.