The new season of Survivor 2014 Blood vs Water San Juan del Sur Season 29 started this Wednesday past and I was excited to see that they’re reviving the Blood versus Water concept with a few changes. Last time, they used prior players with a family member. This time, it’s a totally fresh crop of Survivors with no legacy players which I think makes the game more interesting. What should also make the game more interesting is the addition on the roster of John Rocker who may prove to be the most polarizing player once people figure out who he is.
If you don’t know the name, Rocker is a former Major League baseball relief pitcher who played on the Atlanta Braves and a few other teams, but his notoriety and controversy surrounding him all erupted while he played for the ATL team. For the record, I’m a Braves plan and got to see him play in person a couple of times. He’s a huge guy, kind of hot, a leftie pitcher who makes hilariously intense faces when he pitches and looks a little cockeyed at times.
The local fans loved Rocker even after the controversy but he was traded because opposing teams would heckle him so viciously that it affected his performance. Let me fill you in on what happened with him, in case you didn’t know (or were misinformed) and how this could affect his Survivor game. Rocker was promoted from the minors to the majors in 1998 and by 2001 was traded. Here’s the juice – in 1999, he did an interview with Sports Illustrated and was asked if he would ever play for one of the New York teams. Although he says his words were twisted, the article quoted him saying:
“I’d retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 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?”
He was also quoted as saying this about the fans in New York:
“Nowhere else in the country do people spit at you, throw bottles at you, throw quarters at you, throw batteries at you and say, ‘Hey, I did your mother last night — she’s a whore.’ I talked about what degenerates they were and they proved me right.”
After the interview was published, that’s pretty much how NY fans did treat him, but let’s be real, they weren’t the most well-mannered to start with. After the interview came out, people accused him of being racist. The bulk of what he said is personal opinion that he’s entitled to, whether it aligns with your own or not. My only real issue with what he said is the part about homosexuals – he has said that he regretted using the “Q” word.
But I absolutely don’t believe that Rocker is a racist. He had a couple of black roommates that played on the Braves with him and shared his home and dated a (really hot) black chick – Alicia Marie – whose family loved him. But he is Southern, Republican and opinionated, none of which do you any favors with the media. He’s been vilified but it looks like he can take it.
He was one of the faces of a campaign titled “Speak English” that proclaimed that if you live in the US, you should speak the language (I don’t disagree) and is a regular on many conservative broadcasts and podcasts. He’s outspoken, brash and doesn’t seem to have a filter. But I really don’t think he’s a bigot, racist or misogynist.
But once the other Survivors figure out who he is, I anticipate the gay guys to be anti-Rocker, along with the minorities and any New Yorkers. What’s more, they may think he should go because he’s got lots of $$ and doesn’t need the prize purse. Either way, once they actually figure out his name, all hell is going to break loose. For now, he’s got the one guy who recognized him as a ball player convinced that he’s John Wetteland, a pitcher who is a decade older than he is. Better that than Rocker for now and it seems he knows that.
For my part, I would vote him out on Survivor but not right away. He’s a huge physical threat so is the guy you want to keep up until merger and then vote out right before it goes to individual immunity because he’s a beast – the guy is 6 foot something huge, has biceps the size of bowling balls and looks bigger and stronger than when he was a pro athlete.
If no one figures out who he is, Rocker may be able to avoid backlash and ride on his (oh so lovely) muscles to the merge. But, given his predilection for speaking his mind, he may put his foot in his mouth all over again and piss off the Survivors anyway. Either way, I look forward to watching and hope CBS encouraged him to be shirtless as much as possible. But that’s just me – I like them big and stupid!
Tune in next Wednesday for our recap of episode two of season 20 of Survivor Blood vs Water!