Love him or hate him, agree or disagree, right or wrong, Pete Rose will always say what’s on his mind:

They aren’t as good this year as they were last year (74-88, fifth place). They didn’t do anything this winter to really help themselves. They acquired a catcher (Ramon Hernandez) who hit .257. Stevie Wonder could hit .230.

But wait! There’s more:

I went to an NBA game in Indianapolis (last week). I wouldn’t have gone if LeBron James wasn’t playing. Who do the fans in Dayton have to drive to see on the Reds? You don’t want fans in Dayton driving to see the opposition. Who would you pay to see on the Reds?

They have to create some identity for the fans with players. They had it with Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, but now who do they have?

Then…

We (the Big Red Machine) ruined it for them by being so good. You aren’t going to get attendance if you don’t win. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it is. If they don’t get off to a good start, with the economy, they’re in trouble. I mean, what reason did they give fans last year to come back this year?

Go read the whole interview. Rose is always entertaining, if nothing else.