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- "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X, featuring Bill Ray Cyrus, has dominated Billboard’s Songs of the Summer chart since June 4 and has topped the Hot 100 for 15 consecutive weeks.
- Cyrus is now turning his sights to using the song’s success to get Pete Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Rose is banned from being inducted after he was penalized with permanent ineligibility for betting on the game.
- On Tuesday’s episode of "Le Batard & Friends – South Beach Sessions" podcast, Dan Le Batard tried to ask Cyrus about music, but he kept bringing things back to baseball and Rose.
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"Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X, featuring Bill Ray Cyrus, has dominated Billboard’s Songs of the Summer chart since June 4 and has topped the Hot 100 for 15 consecutive weeks – one week away from tying the record.
Cyrus is now trying to take the song’s success to baseball, using it to campaign for Pete Rose to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose is the MLB’s all-time leader in several offensive categories, including hits (4,256), games played (3,562), and singles (3,215).
He was penalized with permanent ineligibility in 1989 due to accusations that he was betting on the game, making him banned from induction. After denying the claim for years, in 2004 Rose admitted that he bet on baseball and the Cincinnati Reds while he was their manager.
On the July 16 edition of ESPN’s Le Batard & Friends – South Beach Sessions podcast, Dan Le Batard asked Cyrus about the newfound spotlight he’s found, but his answer quickly weaved into comparing the movement of "Old Town Road" to creating his own movement for Rose.
"This whole things with ‘Old Town Road’ is just blowing my mind right now," Cyrus said.
"I started the whole Pete Rose movement last week. [The song] was 14 weeks at No. 1 and I saw this picture of Pete Rose with that one finger up and I go, ‘Wow, man. I remember what Pete Rose meant to me, that tri-state area, and Major League Baseball.’ That’s why when I put that picture up … I even said Pete Rose deserves to be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame."
He pointed to his new campaign as the reason he was brought on the show.
Cyrus played baseball while growing up in Kentucky and attended Georgetown University on an athletic scholarship before making the switch to music. He was watching the game during Rose’s prime.
Le Batard tried to steer the conversation back to performing and Cyrus’ music career, but while some of that was discussed, all Cyrus wanted to talk about was Rose and baseball.
"[Finding a hit song] is like everything in life," Cyrus said. "It’s like baseball. Life is like baseball. Before you can ever get a hit, you’ve got to step up to the pate. When you step up to the plate you’ve got to swing … And you keep swinging.
"Pete Rose taught me this: when you get knocked down, you get back up."
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Even though he’s on board with Rose and his love for baseball, Cyrus isn’t too familiar with the current happenings of the game.
Show producer Billy Gil joined in on the conversation and asked Cyrus about his thoughts on the infield shift.
"Man, I’ve been so busy keeping up with ‘Old Town Road’ that I’m not sure I’ve felt the shift. [To me], the definition of baseball is Pete Rose … I think this would be a good time, whatever shifting, for everybody to agree there’s room for forgiveness.
"I think it’d just be such a healing process for baseball if they just said that this year we’re putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame."
What about the report that the baseballs are juiced?
"Whose balls are juiced? I don’t know what you’re talking about," Cyrus said.
Before things wrapped up, which included Cyrus saying he may retire if the song breaks the Billboard Hot 100 record, he left Rose a voicemail.
"Mr. Pete Rose, this is Billy Ray Cyrus. I know you’re on an airplane right now and I’m praying for your safe travels. This is no hurry whatsoever, but I had seen that you gave the show a call today that your flight got moved. I wanted you to know, I’m so looking forward to speaking with you and telling you how much you’ve meant to all of us back in Ohio River Valley. My mom and my mother-in-law [have] made messages for you. We just love you. Wanted you to know and I look forward to speaking with you, but most importantly have safe travels today."
Based on Cyrus’ persistence on the matter, he may ride this horse till he can’t no more.
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