In 1999, Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker endeared himself to New York Mets fans everywhere with his warm embrace of the city’s rich diversity. In a Sports Illustrated article, Rocker was asked about his interest in one day playing in the city that hated him:
“I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut, next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”
He wasn’t done spreading his love for the Big Apple:
“You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”
His rantings earned him a suspension by Major League Baseball, some complimentary sensitivity training, and secure place on NY’s Mount Rushmore of hated sports villains in between Reggie Miller, Tom Brady and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Rocker is now free of the shackles of gainful sports-entertainment employment (he retired in 2002) and can finally just be John Rocker, no longer holding his tongue. He can now throw wild pitches without guilt. He has been hired to deliver his 95 MPH invectives high and tight for the conservative online tabloid, World Net Daily (WND).
He is certainly a well-read thought leader on conservative issues. His steady diet of information comes from a variety of sources and points of view. He was quoted in Politico as saying he watches both Fox News and Fox Business “all day and every day”. That no doubt provides him the proper fair and balanced daily recommended ration of rant. (I am reminded of the scene in The Blues Brothers when Jake asks the barkeep what kind of music the crowd enjoyed. She responded, “We like both kinds – country and western.” Rocker enjoys both points of view – Fox News and Business.”)
Even 10 years after retirement, Rocker can still throw the occasional curve ball. He supports a woman’s right to choose and is decidedly laissez-faire on the subject of gay marriage, two topics that Fox News must cover while he is sleeping or mowing the lawn. His live-and-let-live philosophy regarding gays should be proof that sensitivity training does work. In 2002, he made headlines for reportedly yelling homophobic slurs at a restaurant in a gay-friendly neighborhood in Dallas. Johnny, you’ve come a long way, baby.
By and large, however, he toes the rubber for his conservative brethren. On the topic of Obama’s socialist dictatorship, he opines:
“The nation we live in has not come to the prestige it has based on socialist ideology, from people looking to the government, looking for some kind of help, whether it be health care or social programs like welfare. Those ideals are not what created America into the country we are today. It’s been an ideology of capitalism, of, ‘I wake up every morning and put my boots on and make something of myself and my life,’ and I just don’t think President Obama shares those ideals. I think he really wants to steer us more toward a socialist state where a lot of people depend on the government for everything under the sun.”
He was a closer in baseball, but on the talk circuit, he should be able to go the distance with nasty stuff like that. Control is critical for a pitcher’s success. Loss of control is Rocker’s strong suit, so working at WND and championing the War on Differences of Opinion should be a nice fit.
So Mets fans who are planning to vote for Romney, the choice is clear. You’ll be on John Rocker’s team this fall, or you’ll be voting against his wishes.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.