Former Braves’ closer John Rocker was made infamous when he went on a xenophobic rant in Jeff Pearlman’s now-immortal SI profile way back when. And in recent years he’s popped up here and there to say something kinda crazy and reactionary.
Now he’s a political commentator for World Net Daily, where he offers columns about how immigrants should speak English and how big government is gonna get you. But even if I don’t share his views there, I’ll give the guy credit for philosophical consistency. He doesn’t just believe that government should stay out of business and stuff. He believes it should stay out of the bedroom and the home as well.
Here he is talking to Politico on gay marriage:
“Am I someone that thinks that I have the right to sit back and judge someone that I don’t know, will never meet, on how they should live their life or what rights they can have to live their life the way they want to? I don’t think I deserve that responsibility.”
And on abortion:
“Obviously, conservatives would look at me cross-eyed and argue vehemently with me, but I just don’t think one man can tell another man how they can live their life within the confines of moral decisions.”
Like I said, I don’t think John Rocker and I would agree on almost anything if we sat down to discuss politics. But I’ll say that, after years of treating him like a punchline, he deserves a little more credit. Not because his views here on a couple of issues hew more closely to mine, but because, if he is writing these columns himself, there is actually some thought put to them and a form of intellectual consistency to them that I admire.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.