Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” theory would be put to the test in today’s reality television and Instagram strewn landscape. So what to make of former MLB relief pitcher John Rocker, a man who once insulted an entire city with his narrow-minded world view, still finding a way to keep popping up in the news from time-to-time?
Rocker hasn’t pitched in the bigs since tossing nine innings for the then-Devil Rays in 2003. On top of that, he’s been a pariah in most circles since his infamous quotes about New York City to Jeff Pearlman that ran in Sports Illustrated back in 1999.
Despite these facts, Rocker was a guest on Cleveland radio station 92.3 The Fan on Tuesday. The topic turned toward the “steroid era” in baseball, Rocker offered his unique take:
“Honestly, and this may go against what some people think from an ethical stand point, I think it was the better game. At the end of the day when people are paying their $80, $120 whatever it may be, to buy their ticket and come watch that game, it’s almost like the circus is in town. They are paid to be entertained. They wanna see some clown throw a fastball 101 mph and some other guy hit it 500 feet. That’s entertainment. You’re paying to be entertained.”
Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder and using words like ‘circus’ to describe baseball in the late 1990s and early 2000s is apt. It’s also probably true, some segment of the ticket-buying public pines for the days of bulked up behemoths Mark McGwire were “socking some dingers” on a nightly basis.
Regardless, baseball’s front office remains dogged in its attempts to stamp out PEDs from the game — decades after the fact. The coming All-Star week festivities figure to be overshadowed, in part, by the pending attempts to suspend Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and others.
This year’s All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York, so it’s doubtful Rocker will be in attendance.