John Rocker’s head shot — Ducks hat and all — appeared on a clubhouse television before last night’s game against Camden, ridiculed on an ESPN talk show. Not the kind of national exposure this generally lovable franchise might want.
“We’ve done enough good around Long Island,” centerfielder Justin Davies said. “One guy isn’t going to mess it up.”
He wasn’t given the chance last night as Rocker remained in the bullpen for a 7-0 win at Citibank Park. He still wasn’t talking to the media after his involvement in yet another controversy, this time regarding his recent comments on ESPN.com in which he compared his experience as a target of fans to that of Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron.
Pete Rose Jr., Rocker’s roommate on the road and perhaps closest friend on the team, empathized with the beleaguered reliever.
“I’ve been going through stuff with fans for my whole career and I didn’t do anything,” Rose said, making reference to such needling quips as ‘”I BET you don’t get a hit!’ and ‘What’s the odds on the game?’ Believe me, it gets rough.”
Indeed, I recall it was the taunts of smart-aleck “fans” that ended the minor league playing career of Adolf Hitler, Jr. (above). Perhaps years from now, when we’re not in a 24 hour cycle of ESPN News and their ilk looking for the ugliest stories imagineable, we’ll have greater perspective on John Rocker’s attempts to turn the other cheek.