John Rocker tells magazine he’s close to publishing memoir

Post career, John Rocker appeared on ESPN's "Pros vs. Joes" show in 2006. (AP photo)

Post career, John Rocker appeared on ESPN's "Pros vs. Joes" show in 2006. (AP photo)

John Rocker: Published author?

Rocker, the Braves’ former pitcher and ticking time bomb, has been referenced frequently in the past couple of weeks. He was an historical reference point for observers after Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell’s verbal altercation with fans in San Francisco, which allegedly included homophobic slurs.

Rocker, who still lives in Atlanta, apparently is self-publishing a memoir. Title: “Scars and Strikes.” It’s due out in June. The current issue of Atlanta Magazine has a profile on Rocker in its May issue. The story, written by Charles Bethea, doesn’t really break new ground, but it has a few amusing comments. Included:

♦ Rocker says the book will be a mixture of baseball and politics, with some of his “philosophy and feelings.” He adds that it will be “how the conversation would have gone had that writer gotten it right.” The reference was to the Sports Illustrated story in 2000, in which he bashed, among other things, homosexuals and “foreigners” (specifying, “Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people.” His punchline in SI: “How the hell did they get in this country?”

Rocker's campaign is on the shelf for now.

Rocker's campaign is on the shelf for now.

♦ Rocker says he rarely speaks with reporters (or they with him) and adds, “I’ve sworn off doing print interviews.” In Rocker’s world, I guess this means a magazine doesn’t qualify as print. Bethea was allowed to read the first chapter of Rocker’s book. His mini-review: “The only disparaging word in its thirteen pages, which earnestly chronicle the day leading up to his World Series debut in New York City against the Yankees, is reserved for the pregame clubhouse reporters. Rocker uses a widely accepted, species-specific slur for them: ‘piranhas.’ Again, progress.” (For the record, I prefer, “vultures.”)

♦ Rocker has backed off his controversial “Speak English” campaign. The link on his website for “Speak English” T-shirts is no longer active. He tells the magazine that the campaign was “misunderstood.” Of course. Quoting here: “People have tried to tie it into the racist overtones that Sports Illustrated created, that Speak English is biased, bigoted. Coming to America, if you want to truly realize why you came here—for a better life, better opportunity for your family— the only way to do that is to speak English.” (Editorial response: The kernel of truth to that last sentence is obliterated by the messenger and his resume. Also, putting “Speak English” on T-shirts falls short in the finesse department.)

♦ He remains close friends with former Braves teammate Otis Nixon, an African American, who battled cocaine addiction during his career. Nixon calls Rocker, “Like a brother or a son. He came to the majors looking like he thought he owned half the locker room; he did and said things I didn’t agree with, but he’s grown. I told him the other day that I’m proud of him. He’s finally getting past that article.”

Others may never get past it. Not sure I’ll buy the book but it should be interesting if he has a book signing in Atlanta. Or in New York.

By Jeff Schultz

Last post: How they really stand — from Braves (1) to Jacket hoops (10)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

179 comments Add your comment

Emory Road

May 4th, 2011
10:55 am

Bill Campbell would be proud.

bulldog_keith

May 4th, 2011
10:56 am

He reminds me of Kyle Farnsworth a little bit on the pitching mound. A little herkey herkey, but a blazing fastball. Hate he flamed out, pardon the pun.

Bdubs

May 4th, 2011
10:57 am

Barblefart

May 4th, 2011
11:02 am

John Rocker = Kenny Powers

Reid Adair

May 4th, 2011
11:03 am

I don’t agree with things that John Rocker has said, but why should he be any different from some of the other people who have written books? If he wants to do this, I say let him do it.

Just because he writes a book, even has it published, doesn’t mean people will buy it.

DawginLex

May 4th, 2011
11:05 am

guy was unhittable in his prime. Still remember him going to Fenway and striking out the side in the 9th and getting out of the bases loaded no out jam in Houston.

His dad told him to let his arm do his talking the day before he got into the car with the reporter.

Too bad he didn’t listen

Jeff Schultz

May 4th, 2011
11:11 am

Comments are great, folks — but please, no preaching. Thanks.

Emory Road

May 4th, 2011
11:13 am

Is Atlanta Magazine going to publish a profile

on ex-convict and former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell also ?

Remarkable

May 4th, 2011
11:17 am

Jeff do you plan to read this. I can’t imagine more than 6 people actually buying a copy unless you are a sportswriter. We’ll get all we need from the blogs and articles. I’ve already had all I need.

Texas Red

May 4th, 2011
11:21 am

Nice article until you had to insert your own “editorial response”. Stick to the facts please.

preacher

May 4th, 2011
11:22 am

19 “foreigners” died and went to hell on 9/11/2001.

Benjamin

May 4th, 2011
11:23 am

The SI article destroyed Rocker. Granted, a lot of that was Rocker’s fault, for obvious reasons, but I can’t help but think that Pearlman showed about two ounces of journalistic integrity in handling that situation the way he did. I feel like they took advantage of a 24 year old kid on a lot of levels.

Crash

May 4th, 2011
11:25 am

I knew John Rocker in high school. Unfortunately for him, Rocker epitomizes the line “million dollar arm attached to a 5 cent head.” I expect this memoir to be little more than an excercise in patting himself on the back. Even so, I can’t see him having enough material to fill much more than a pamphlet.

what of it?

May 4th, 2011
11:28 am

Has anyone told him that HBO already did it with a series called “East Bound and Down”?

1eyedJack

May 4th, 2011
11:30 am

Will the book come with crayons or will we have to purchase them separately?

Rashard Mendenhall

May 4th, 2011
11:30 am

John Rocker must be a member of the Tea Party.

Time

May 4th, 2011
11:41 am

Oh goody, another opportunity for pompous liberal elite media types to show off their never ending hypocrisy. John Rocker gets destroyed, media types camping outside his parents house on christmas, spewing lies and hatred at him and anyone who didn’t hate him. Yet they still line up to read Bob Ryan’s columns, and still wax poetic wishing for the days when their beloved democratic senator Robert Byrd was still in office.

1eyedJack

May 4th, 2011
11:43 am

Rashard Mendenhall: Sloping forhead, thick protruding brow ridge, underdeveloped lower jaw and a lazy eye.

Stand up straight man and quit dragging your knuckles.

John Rocker

May 4th, 2011
11:44 am

Hey Rashard, get out of this country!

Him Tudson

May 4th, 2011
11:44 am

The guy who wrote that SI article was probably a Mets fan, but yeah, all the crap Rocker said AFTER the backlash just confirmed his boneheadedness in a way that a past-its-prime sports mag really couldn’t.

james

May 4th, 2011
11:48 am

john rocker story photo captions says espns pro vs joe it was spike tvs pro vs joe i love ur braves coverage thanks

Lobosolo

May 4th, 2011
11:52 am

Who would even want to read a book by this guy? I mean, really? Could one be so pathetic that they would want insight into the life of John Rocker? A juicing, less-than-mediocre-minded, flame-out of a pictcher? Just as soon watch re-runs of the royal wedding, and that sure ain’t gonna happen…

Time

May 4th, 2011
11:58 am

Lobossolo -”Who would even want to read a book by this guy? I mean, really?”

Probably the same folks who would vote a KKK member into the US Senate. Or give passes to Boston sports columnists who said things a 1000 times worse than Rocker.

JJ

May 4th, 2011
11:58 am

It’s a good thing that 99.99% of 18-25 year olds in this country don’t have access to the media. Otherwise, what Rocker said would not even cause you to blink an eye.

And please don’t mistake this for me condoning what he said or making excuses for him.

Mike

May 4th, 2011
12:04 pm

It makes sense. Kenny Powers is loosely based on the persona of John Rocker. I can see John now in Mexico with corn rows making an audio recording of his book.

JackDennis

May 4th, 2011
12:14 pm

Talent squandered. Nothing he says interests me.

Larry

May 4th, 2011
12:16 pm

Such irony…John shows up at our hunting club last season with his hard bodied, black girlfriend. Unfortunately we had to kick him out of the club for conduct detrimental to men of sound mind and stable emotions.

John’s not a bad guy, just incredibly immature and a low cognitive ceiling. He’s just a strong armed, dumb old country boy that hasn’t the pure common sense to keep his opinions to himself.

Drew

May 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

It is okay John. I WILL BUY IT. Truth is if you had been a rapper spouting off hate speech against cops, America, or white people, then you would have been considered a poet!

Ryan

May 4th, 2011
12:27 pm

Nothing was more exciting at the Braves game than when “I Wanna Rock” would start blaring over the speakings and Rocker would come charging out of the bullpen like a mad man – especially in October.

Gwinnett Fred

May 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

Absolutely East Bound & Down was loosely based on Rocker. From his ‘flame out” to his political UNcorrectness to his initial team being in Atlanta.

Surprised Rocker hasn’t sued HBO!

Hilton

May 4th, 2011
12:32 pm

John Rocker
Good old white boy, who learned
to hate everyone, and the big problem
with that is that his parents never taught him
any different. That my friends is the problem

Gary

May 4th, 2011
12:32 pm

Who would care what that idiot has to say? The story I want to read is Wohlers. At one time unhittable as a closer. Then dude cuts his hair and all ot the sudden cant find the plate. Samson II. That’s a story.

Hilton

May 4th, 2011
12:34 pm

If you look at history, foreigners who come here
acclimate within a period of time. Look at their
children, who not only speak their native language, but English also.

Revised Headline

May 4th, 2011
12:35 pm

Shouldn’t this read “John Rocker to narrate his version of events to someone who can actually spell and write”. There is a reason he’ll have to wait until the audiobook comes out to read his own memoir.

Robert the Redneck

May 4th, 2011
12:35 pm

Dang straight – They took our jobs!!!!

[...] Jeff Shultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that John Rocker, seemingly unable to persuade any of the big publishing houses to give him a deal, [...]

UGA=YAWN

May 4th, 2011
12:40 pm

Gross. And Otis Nixon is a friend – like that should make Rocker look like an angel?

PMC

May 4th, 2011
12:41 pm

hey, if Snookie can write a book…..

KWalker

May 4th, 2011
12:41 pm

John Rocker said things that everyone else thought. Plain and simple. I’ve heard others say a lot worse, yet they don’t get slammed by the media because they are not white men.

elroy

May 4th, 2011
12:41 pm

I want a “Speak English” T-shirt. Rocker’s problem was that he expressed too much of what he thought. Most, if not all people have some negative thoughts about some things/people. Most are smart enough to keep those thoughts to themselves.

journalist jimmy smith

May 4th, 2011
12:42 pm

journalism is not for sissies.

Dave

May 4th, 2011
12:44 pm

“An historic”? Seriously? Do you also say “an home run”? C’mon Jeff!

Randle Patrick McMurphy

May 4th, 2011
12:45 pm

Jeff Pearlman… scumbag, always was and always will be… lights a match, starts a fire and then runs away like the p*ssy he is… typical…

Welcome

May 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

Welcome to America where the right to free speech applies as long as you don’t tick anybody off.

What it really means is that you have the right to think whatever you want but you better not say it.

Rob

May 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

Just remember UGA offered this moonbat a baseball scholarship. I guess times haven;t changed when it comes to the people UGA recruits.

Supes

May 4th, 2011
12:52 pm

I would be interested in reading it.

People that outright dismiss it are being ignorant and short sighted themselves.

Jimmy

May 4th, 2011
12:53 pm

Most people who rip Rocker never read the SI article. He said nothing that isn’t true. Might be unpopular to say, but it is true. Find the article and read it yourself.

And someone stated above “that hasn’t the pure common sense to keep his opinions to himself.”

Isn’t that what we are doing on this blog?

BillS

May 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

: Jeff, you’re “not sure I’ll but the book but it looks interesting.” What in the world seems nteresting about it? Rocker hasn’t been a player for nearly a decade, he had no coherent thoughts then and seemingly has acquired none since. Why would anyone want to buy his self-published book????

Mike

May 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

I really like the HBO series “East Bound and Down” and can’t believe I didn’t see the Rocker comparisons. In hindsight, he has got to be the inspiration for that show.

Bobby Walden

May 4th, 2011
12:58 pm

Rocker is an idiot. Mariano Rivera is his superior in every way. As recently as 2009, he humiliated the Braves on consecutive nights.