Ex-Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker infamously had his doubts that he could survive the No. 7 train in New York City, but he apparently thinks he can be the ultimate "Survivor" in Nicaragua.
This season of "Survivor" will have contestants paired up in their quest for $1 million. Rocker, 39, is joined his 34-year-old girlfriend Julie McGee, a model and spray tan business owner from Atlanta.
While ex-baseball players have fared well on reality TV dating shows, something tells us Rocker's "Survivor" stint will probably be remembered for something he says rather than his success in the competition. OK, not something, many things.
Rocker is a loose cannon whose most infamous moment was his published-in-Sports Illustrated rant against New York City, immigrants, gays and well, just about everybody. He was asked whether he'd ever want to play in NYC. You may remember his response, but here it is, just in case:
“I’d 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 … The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the 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?”
Get ready, America, he's coming to your living room once a week in primetime.
While the Sports Illustrated interview is more than 15 years old now, Rocker hasn't really changed his ways. He's even more of an attention-seeker now that he's out of baseball. His career ended in 2003, after six seasons in the big leagues. He saved 85 games between 1999 and 2001, but didn't have much success after that.
Since then he's made headlines for saying guns could have prevented the Holocaust and he's sold "Speak English" T-shirts. He still spouts off online too, getting into arguments on Twitter and heaving insults right back at people who diss him.
All that is to say, Rocker will probably do great on a show like "Survivor," where people love to root against a villain. Rocker, obviously, has no problem playing the role. And one of the teams he's up against is a pair of gay guys from New York City. It's like the producers scripted this!
Asked by Entertainment Weekly whether he thinks other "Survivor" hopefuls would hold his history against him, Rocker skipped over the obvious answer — "duh, of course" — and said:
“I see these folks that I’m getting ready to play this game with as very similar to the 13 years of professional baseball that I played, and the teammates that I played with."
When you think about it, Rocker's sordid past might have been preparing him for something like "Survivor." As he said during a Reddit Q & A last year,"my skin is so thick that you absolutely cannot get me. I've heard everything in the book at least twice." It's true. He's been heckled and criticized for years.
Winning "Survivor" requires someone to be both physically and mentally tough. So maybe six seasons in MLB and years of being hated will help Rocker out.
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