In an exclusive interview,
former Atlanta Braves closer John Rocker tells The Daily Caller he supports Donald Trump for president. And why not? The retired pitcher shares Trump's xenophobic sensibilities as well as what Peter Suderman described as The Donald's "gleeful, unapolagetic incivility."
Rocker explains his support for the billionaire New Yorker:
I wish someone, excuse the frankness here, would have the sack, would have the backbone to make unpopular comments, and when folks come out — mainly media, special interest groups, factions, things like that — and just start hammering them and demanding apologies… I've always wanted to see the person that's like, 'Yeah, I've made these comments, these are my beliefs, and you know what, if you don't like it stick it. I'm not apologizing, I'm not changing.
In 1999, a moment that was arguably the peak of his six-year career in major league baseball, Rocker was quoted by Sports Illustrated (SI) discussing his visceral horror at the idea of playing for a New York-based team:
I would retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 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.
Later, Rocker got more specific about New York values:
The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. 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
Shortly after the SI interview was published, Rocker was suspended by then-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for his comments, becoming the first player ever disciplined for off-the-field speech. But in the decade and a half since, the bombastic pitcher who served as the model for Kenny Powers, the loathsome lead character in HBO's show Eastbound and Down, appears to have experienced an evolution of sorts.
Rocker tells the Daily Caller that Trump does indeed represent "New York values," but that he thinks that's a good thing:
[New Yorkers] are always striving for the best. 'We want to be the best.' The best. It can get a little obnoxious and arrogant but at the same time, it can be a good thing…Yes it's a bit of a racket living in New York because everything is so expensive but people who live there, they love it and they're willing to work damn hard and get callouses on their hands and elbow grease on their elbows just to live there, and I think that's very commendable in a lot of areas.
In 2014, Vice tried to get to know the real John Rocker. Watch below.