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|Posted: Sun Oct 12th, 2014 11:47 pm||
|John Rocker’s run on Survivor went about as well as his two-game stint with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003. (Remember that? No?) Despite having an immunity idol in his possession, the controversial ex-Atlanta Braves closer was the third castaway ousted on the long-running CBS reality hit, voted out after his alliance flipped on him following his brief outburst at an immunity challenge.
On Wednesday night’s episode, Rocker’s tribe continued its challenge losing streak. Immediately afterward, Natalie — a member of the rival tribe and an equally abrasive figure on the show — started jawing at Rocker, calling him racist and homophobic and pleading for Rocker’s tribe to oust him. With his tribe begging him to stay quiet, Rocker managed to hold his tongue for a few seconds, but only a few.
“If you were a man, I’d knock your teeth out,” he said, charmingly, before challenging the rest of the tribe to a fight. It was pretty much over from there.
A number of the castaways immediately recognized Rocker at the start of the game and most remembered his infamous 1999 Sports Illustrated interview in which he [url=https://web.archive.org/web/20140528122001/]http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/cover/news/1999/12/22/rocker/]ranted about minorities and homosexuals[/url] on the 7 train in New York. (Rocker weakly attempted to pass himself off as ex-Yankees closer John Wetteland, but no one bought it.) For the first few days, Rocker’s notoriety worked to his advantage, as some thought partnering with a toxic figure could be beneficial. But after his blow-up — which he later said he regretted — he was quick to go.
Other than the mini-tantrum, Rocker showed few flashes of the personality that made him one of the most infamous sports villains in recent sports history. He was abrasive, but his in-game attitude hardly rates in comparison to some of the more notorious figures to appear on the show since its 2000 debut. Rocker came across as more of a guy without a filter. He made a point to remind viewers that his best friend and ally in the game was gay. (That friend eventually voted him out.)
Rocker says he’s now friends with his instigator on the other tribe. “Once you get to know me, you rarely find anybody that actually knows me who ever says a bad word about me,” he said on an EW.com podcast, admitting that he apologized for what he said (but only after she apologized.)
But Rocker’s biggest in-game sin wasn’t popping off at the mouth, it was getting voted out with an idol that would have saved him from elimination. By not playing the idol, Rocker showed belief his alliance would hold firm, despite numerous signals at Tribal Council that the winds had shifted.
Getting voted off Survivor with an idol in your pocket is a cardinal sin, like a baseball manager getting eliminated in the playoffs while keeping his best pitchers in the bullpen or using his best hitters as pinch runners. So, don’t worry, John Rocker. You’re in good company this week.