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TCA Press Tour: Ken Burns says Pete Rose should be in Hall of Fame, but...

August 4, 2010 |  5:22 pm

Ken burns

Pete Rose should be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame, said filmmaker Ken Burns Wednesday afternoon at the semiannual TV press tour in Beverly Hills. But the documentarian had a single caveat -- first, the all-time Major League hit leader should be dead.

"He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame," said Burns of the former player and coach with the Cincinnati Reds whose gambling scandal has prevented his enshrinement at Cooperstown. "But he doesn't deserve to know he's in the Hall of Fame."

Burns was in town to pitch television journalists "The Tenth Inning," a four-hour follow-up to his 1994 PBS documentary "Baseball," which was watched by 45 million viewers, according to the network. The two-part film, from Burns and his longtime collaborator Lynn Novick, will examine the major shifts in the national pastime since the early '90s. Among the topics explored are the 1994 strike, soaring corporate profits, interleague play and the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs.

Burns, a longtime Red Sox fan, said the idea for the extra-inning film came in 2004 when Boston finally broke a legendary curse and triumphed in the World Series. The filmmaker added that he would produce an "Eleventh Inning" film if the still-cursed Chicago Cubs ever won another World Series -- something the team hasn't accomplished since 1908. In that event, he added, it would probably be time to do another film -- "When Hell Freezes Over."

The new film premieres Sept. 28.

-- Martin Miller

Photo: Ken Burns throws out the first pitch before a New York Yankees-Baltimore Orioles game in June.

Credit: AP photo/Gail Burton