All the Pete Rose baseballs, where do they all come from?/All the Pete Rose baseballs, where do they all belong?

Paul McCartney sang these enigmatic words, or something like them, on The Beatles’ immortal “Eleanor Rigby” in 1966. It’s almost like he predicted the rise of Donald Trump.

On Sunday, the orange fascist tweeted the photo you see above, of a baseball signed by the Cincinnati Reds slugger Pete Rose. “Mr. Trump, please make America great again,” it reads. Trump captioned the photo with a thanks to Rose and a message for Ohio voters, who visit the polls today. “Just received from @PeteRose_14. Thank you Pete! #VoteTrump on Tuesday Ohio!”

It makes sense that Rose would feel a fondness for Trump. On the same day that the candidate posted the photo, he’d said in a speech that “We gotta let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame,” referencing the baseball betting scandal that has kept Rose from gaining official recognition as one of the game’s greats.

It also makes sense that Trump would flatter Rose and seek his support. The man is a legend in the Buckeye State. The types of wackadoos who would consider voting for Trump are probably the same types of wackadoos who would take the endorsement of a disgraced athlete into serious consideration. Rose could help Trump win in Ohio.

But, as McCartney famously sort-of asked, where did the baseball come from? After Trump tweeted the ball endorsement, Rose’s attorney released a statement to the press making clear that the ball was not an endorsement. More strangely, he hinted that Rose hadn’t sent the ball at all. From the Washington Post, emphasis ours:

“Pete has made a point not to ‘endorse’ any particular presidential candidate. Though he respects everyone who works hard for our country — any outlet that misinterpreted a signed baseball for an endorsement was wrong. Pete did not send any candidate a baseball or a note of endorsement.

Then, the Post followed up with the attorney and got a second statement that only confuses things more.

“We do not know how Mr. Trump got the ball. I can’t authenticate the ball from some Twitter picture. I can’t speak to how Trump got the ball. Pete didn’t send it. I made that clear.”

What’s going on here? I’m no handwriting expert, but the thing looks pretty legit, and an outright forgery would be brazen, even for Donald. It’s a strange mystery, but an even stranger one persists: Where do these idiots all come from?

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