Craig Calcaterra

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Shocker: John Rocker supports Donald Trump for president


John Rocker, who savvily realized years ago that saying stupid things would keep him moderately relevant in certain odd backwaters of the popular culture, wants us to know who he supports for president. You’ll be shocked to learn that it’s Donald Trump. Why? Because, according to The Daily Caller, Rocker admires Trump’s stances on “the economy, guns and immigration,” which Rocker says are “the most important issues to the country today.”

No one tell Rocker that, for as much as he has demonized immigrants, Trump has proposed a lot of liberal/populist economic programs such as getting rid of loopholes exploited by the very rich and has proposed large federal expenditures to rebuild America’s infrastructure. Likewise don’t tell Rocker that Trump said this about gun control last year:

The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions. I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.

Which, whatever you think of guns or Trump, is a position that Rocker would probably hate if he was told Obama supported it. Which he more or less does.

But maybe the best part of this story about Rocker is how he thinks Trump is the best man for the job because he talks tough and unapologetically so:

“I wish someone, excuse the frankness here, would have the sack, would have the backbone to make unpopular comments, and when folks come out — mainly media, special interest groups, factions, things like that — and just start hammering them and demanding apologies… I’ve always wanted to see the person that’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ve made these comments, these are my beliefs, and you know what, if you don’t like it stick it. I’m not apologizing, I’m not changing,”

This from the guy who spent years claiming he was misquoted by Jeff Pearlman in the infamous Sports Illustrated story in which Rocker slammed homosexuals and various ethic groups. Or at least he did before he went on his apology tour. Which lasted until he changed course again and decided to embrace his comments. Then I think there were more apologies. I’ve lost track. Either way, I am 100% certain that if Rocker said this stuff about New Yorkers today, New Yorker Donald Trump would probably call him a “loser.” Which would be pretty hilarious.

Oh well, at least we heard from John Rocker again. I start to worry about him if he hasn’t spouted off about something in the past several months.

John Rocker

There could be a regular season game in London in 2017

British Flag

Back in November British news outlets were reporting that Major League Baseball was in negotiations to play a game in London. The league didn’t say much about it then, but Rob Manfred said something about it yesterday.

Specifically, he said the league is looking to play its first regular-season games in London in 2017 and that they’re “working hard on that one.” He said it would be a midseason game, not an opener like they’ve played in Japan and Australia in the past due to the March and April weather in London.

This is the part that has me thinking the most:

“We haven’t really settled on teams, and I don’t want to speculate about that,” he said. “Obviously, we want to make as good a first impression in Europe as we possibly can.”

The NFL has had a habit of sending some pretty garbage teams over to London for its games lately. I suppose this means that we’re not going to get the Rockies and the Braves in jolly old England then. Thank God.

MLB is considering raising the bottom of the strike zone

Oakland Athletics' Billy Butler, right, has words with home plate umpire Tim Welke after striking out looking against the Houston Astros in the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Associated Press

In the same interviews Rob Manfred gave about the DH yesterday he talked about another possible change on the horizon: the strike zone. Specifically, shrinking it a tiny bit by raising the bottom of the strike zone from the hollow beneath the kneecap back to the top of the kneecap where it was prior to the 1996 season.

Manfred said Major League Baseball is studying the matter, and the article notes that any change would have to be the subject of collective bargaining, meaning that if a change is made it wouldn’t be implemented until 2017.

It doesn’t seem like a big change. Take a look at your knees for a minute, note that your kneecap isn’t that darn big and then ask yourself how precise umpires are, especially at the bottom of the zone, which is often where the worst calls come. On the other hand, think of all of the various changes that have happened to the context of baseball over the years, from strike zone changes to ball composition to balk rules to the height of pitchers mounds and recall that what often seem like minor alterations in baseball’s context often lead to fairly dramatic changes in offensive levels.

Either way, there is considerable evidence that, separate and apart from the 1996 rule change, the strike zone has been creeping ever-downward and that batters are now being forced to chase pitches far, far lower than they ever did lest they be caught looking at a strike. Adjusting that to some degree, in this age of pitching dominance and more strikeouts than there has ever been in the game, is probably a good idea.