By Michael Thompson
John Rocker, the Major League Baseball pitcher whose politically incorrect comments to a reporter were remembered long after he retired from baseball, will be appearing on CNN with Don Lemon July 7 to talk about becoming WND’s newest columnist.
Rocker will discuss his new WND column, “Life After Baseball,” and his conservative politics at 10 p.m.
A fierce defender of conservative values, Rocker says his book, “Scars and Strikes,” is a wake-up call to those who base their perception of him on the Sports Illustrated article that led to a 14-game suspension from baseball in 2000. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig assigned Rocker to mandatory “sensitivity” training as part of his “sentence.”
Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1993 after his senior year of high school, Rocker remained with the organization for nine seasons and served as the team’s closer during his last four years with the Braves, although he began his career as a starting pitcher. He joined the Cleveland Indians in 2001, the Texas Rangers in 2002 and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003, where he completed a one-year contract before undergoing what proved to be a career-ending shoulder surgery. Rocker pitched in two National League Championships, one World Series and four Divisions Series, accumulating 21 1/3 scoreless playoff innings during his professional career.
It was in 1999 that Rocker had his best year in the majors, appearing in 74 games and posting 38 saves, with 104 strikeouts in only 72.1 innings pitched.
Jeff Pearlman was the Sports Illustrated writer whose report sparked a media firestorm aimed at Rocker. WND has reported the details of that infamous interview.
“I’ve done thousands of radio and television interviews since that article came out in 2000, but it seems like I can’t escape nor apologize enough for it,” said Rocker. “Well, it’s time to move on.”
Rocker’s teammates and friends in Major League Baseball rushed to defend him, but the damage was done.
After his retirement, Rocker moved on to a successful career in real-estate development. Including the ownership and development of two smaller commercial deals, Rocker has participated in nearly $100 million in real-estate transactions over the last decade.
Known for giving free rein to a myriad of columnists from right to left, WND will bring Rocker’s writing to the commentary page each Tuesday. Read Rocker’s debut columns for WND, “Roger Clemens and the big-government circus” and “The death of personal responsibility.”
Rocker wrote in “The death of personal responsibility” that, “It seems that with each passing month – dare I say, each passing day – the ideology of personal responsibility is rapidly becoming an outdated concept in this country. The more observant I become the more awareness I gain regarding the shear deficiency most people seem to have concerning their own accountability. ‘Do it for me. Please eliminate my propensity for consistently making poor decisions by severely limiting and/or giving me no choices at all.’”
John’s July 7 appearance on Don Lemon’s CNN show at 10 p.m. will be one viewers won’t want to miss.