NBC Sports reporter Jim Gray's relentless questioning of Pete Rose about gambling before Game 2 of the World Series in Atlanta prompted strong viewer reaction Sunday night.
"There were quite a bit of phone calls. It was nonstop for at least an hour," said one NBC employee, who declined to give her name.
The local NBC affiliate in New York said operators fielded more than 600 complaints about the interview.
Rose, who was banned by baseball for gambling in 1989, was interviewed at Turner Field after he was introduced as part of the all-century team.
Gray asked him why he hasn't admitted that he bet on the sport. "I'm not going to admit to something that didn't happen," Rose said.
Gray, refusing to change the subject, said the commissioner's office had strong evidence Rose bet on baseball. "I mean, show it to me, where is it?," Rose asked.
"But you agreed to a ban from baseball for life," Gray said.
"It also says I can apply for reinstatement in one year. I was looking forward to that day," Rose answered.
When Gray suggested that Rose should take a different approach to getting reinstated by admitting guilt, Rose said, "You say it hasn't worked, what do you mean?"
Finally, Rose appeared taken aback by the line of questioning.
"You know, I'm surprised you're bombarding me with this. I'm here to do an interview with you on a great night, a great occasion. You're bringing up something that happened 10 years ago," he said.
Television ratings for Game 1 of the World Series were up 4% from last season.
Overnight ratings for Saturday night's game, which measures the top 44 markets in the country, were 15.0 and a 26 share.