Ball Five Pt. 3

Editor's Note: John Rocker, the maligned former closer for the Atlanta Braves, has signed a book deal with Regnery Publishing (publisher of such bestsellers as Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry) to chronicle his comeback attempt. Regnery and Mr. Rocker have graciously agreed to post some of the pitcher's entries here, as they happen. Expect a new entry each week.

There are no refrigerators in baseball. Remember when you were a kid and you would come home with straight A's, or your book report on Mein Kampf got a perfect 100? My mom would immediately put it on the fridge, using my General Lee magnet to proudly display it to the family. (Not the Dukes of Hazzard car or the Confederate hero, but BOTH: the magnet, made by my cousin in shop class, had Lee riding in the General Lee. I've had it on my locker my entire professional career.) Point being that, for me, the fridge (and the bumper of my pickup) was like a trophy case: it always told me how much my life kicked ass.

But in baseball, no one cares about accomplishments unless you're the sort of flashy player who likes to wear gold chains and talk about how great you are, smiling your white teeth at every camera you see. I'm not that kind of a guy. Like all white men, I'm a working man. I don't mind just punching the clock, but sometimes it's nice to get slapped on the back and someone say, "Way to kick ass, John." I think we all live for that.

So, to get to the point, did any of yall happen to read about the Ducks game the other night in the Jew York Times? Did you see Sportscenter lead off with it? The hell you didn't, because I kicked ass, and they're afraid to tell you about that. I pitched one inning against Atlantic City, and I struck out the whole stinkin' side. Oh, where are you now, liberal media? Too afraid to report the truth once in a while? Lookie there, Pedro Gomez, I think Barry Bonds ate another taco. Time for la specialo reporto!

Even though I've been kicking ass (6.97 ERA, down from the double digits, thankyouverymuch) and so has Paxton Crawford (who could've been the greatest Red Sox pitcher ever if it weren't for all of Boston's coloreds, who ran him out of town), the Ducks haven't been doing so hot. It's tough, even when none of us care about the games. When [Manager] Don [McCormick] comes stomping around the clubhouse after a loss looking for some Goldbond, we all try to look pissed off. We know that looking the part is the same thing as being the part.

One kid though, this boy Justin Davies, wouldn't know to breathe if 50 Cent didn't tell him to. Now the boy can mash, I'll give him that, but the other night after a tough game I saw him crack a smile when Pax went over and farted in his face. That's just not right. We had lost another tough one to the Nashua Pride, and that's not a time for smiling; I don't care what the situation is. So I walked over to the kid and jabbed him in the ribs with a bat.

"What's so funny, kid?" I asked.

"Shut up, Rocker," he had the balls to say.

"Did you just call me CRACKER?" I yelled.

And then I grabbed his street clothes and threw them into the showers. He looked at me like I just told him that the Fat Boys had broken up and went over and picked up his stuff. He came back and his eyes were wet.

"That's more like it," I told him. "But stop acting like a little pussy."

I don't know what these kids would do without a vet to show them the ropes.


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