I really hate to admit it (okay, not really), but I'm all but dancing with a near-manic glee at the situation John Rocker finds himself in. He has now been waived from a team that, to my understanding, is so far removed from the major leagues for which he once pitched that the officials look to high school baseball game attendance rates with envy. He managed to amass an 0-2 record in only 18 IP in 23 games, and a 6.50 ERA in one of the lowest leagues in all of baseball. Rocker, a man who once insulted gays, foreigners, and minorities in NEW YORK CITY during a minor, unimportant set of games known as THE WORLD SERIES, is finally exiting stage left (or in his case, far-right). Pardon me while I fiddle as his career burns. And no, I'm not having a seizure. I'm just that uncoordinated.
But as I've said from time to time, things occur in cycles. Where there is death (in this case metaphorical), there's also life, rebirth. A new asshole has risen to take John Rocker's place. In case you've been in a coma for the last year or two, in the 2004-2005 season, the NHL did what no other North American major league has ever done before: Lost an entire season due to a labor dispute. The expected and honorable response by both the players and the owners would be pennance, expressions of deep sorrow and regret, or put simply, grovelling. But Jeremy Roenick has decided to take a different track. In a profanity-laden outburst, he encouraged people who believe the lockout was about players' greed to stay home and not watch the games. He's provided this "advice" although the television ratings place them 4th among major sports in the U.S. and Canada, well behind the NBA, NFL, and MLB. Furthermore, he accused the fans who called him and the other players "spoiled", who, ultimately write his pay check, "jealous". As a fan, Mr. Roenick, I can say without any reservation that I am not and will never be jealous of your spoiled ass. I'M PISSED OFF!!! I'm so pissed off at both the NHLPA and the NHL owners for, while realizing they were at the lip of the waterfall, decided that the proper course of action was to angrily argue with each other over the placement of artwork in the rooms instead of reversing course and averting disaster. That was a year that was entirely wasted, a year the fans and the players will never be able to get back, a year that could have had some of the greatest games in the history of hockey or at least given rise to new stars, but instead was nothing. And for what? For millionaires to argue with billionaires? For fans to resort to AAA leagues to get their hockey fix and realize that what they've really been missing are teams that play for the love of the game? Mr. Roenick, your compatriots should be deeply ashamed of themselves, but you have proven that you have no place in the game at all. So retire, and I hope the league uses this opportunity to ban you for life unless you make a REALLY good apology. I don't want "I'm sorry if people were offended." I want deep, true pennance, and tears would be nice, and then, MAYBE, you should be accepted back in the league on a trial basis and under the auspices of a one-strike-your-out policy.