Monday, February 27, 2006

Take a swing at John Rocker

"I know Hank (Aaron) and Jackie (Robinson) took a good deal of crap," the former Braves reliever told last year, "but I guarantee it wasn't for six years. I just keep thinking: How much am I supposed to take?"

That's for those who may have thought Rocker got a raw deal after being suspended for insensitive remarks back in 2000. While against the government punishing for "speech crimes," private organizations, like the Braves or Major League Baseball, have every right to expect their employees to behave in a certain way.

Regrettably, Rocker still has his fans down here. Don't count me or Al Kosa among them:

First off, I have nothing against people in wheelchairs, hunters or hunters in wheelchairs. I do, however, think John Rocker is a bit of an imbecile.

It’s almost too easy to take shots at Rocker. But as he’s back in the news, why not? The pride of Macon is appearing in a Spike TV show where he’ll pitch to a few average Joes who win some sort of contest, in New York, no less. Oooooh! Rocker in New York. This could get crazy.

Probably not. According to the local organ, the burned out lefty will have plenty of security in tow, not to mention the Spike crews. Rocker will be flinging on "Pros vs. Joes, the show where ordinary guys face off against some of the greatest athletes in the world."

I’m not sure John is one of the greatest athletes in the world. Maybe Bode Miller isn’t available, though he’ll probably be chasing gigs like this soon. As for Rocker, he seems to remain on a campaign to rehabilitate his image. He has a web site filled with news about appearances at charity events for children. He does seem to do a lot of that. And he lets you know about it all.

The above photo features this caption:

John poses with Dusty Vance of Philadelphia, Mississippi, at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen event in March 2004. Rocker recently spent three days in Union Springs, Alabama assisting disabled hunters in the field.

Dusty, a Wheelin’ Sportsmen participant said, “I am thankful to all the volunteers who came out to help with the Wheelin’ Sportsmen event. I am particularly grateful to John Rocker, who not only took the time out of his busy schedule, but he is also one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

See. He is a nice guy. If you don’t believe Dusty, John’s publicist - yes, he has a publicist – says so too in a Newsday story when Rocker signed with the Long Island Ducks. This was before the matured Rocker had screaming matches with a couple of Long Island fans.

The real Rocker, his image maker says, is "a very genuine person, a very likable person, intelligent, great sense of humor. Look, he knows he made a mistake. He doesn't deny that. But he's also grown up in six years, and he's matured."

He’s matured enough to write a book "that will cover topics such as politics, current events, the media and sports," according to his web site. Move over Thomas Friedman and David Brooks.

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