Braves should send Rocker out the door

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2000

First of all I agree that John Rocker’s first punishment was too harsh; he is entitled to his opinions, no matter how wacky they are. And I can appreciate Rocker’s effort to make amends with his teammates when returning to spring training. But I still don’t understand the Braves not dealing Rocker away. Then again, I do. But there better be a World Series flag flying over Turner Field to justify keeping him.

For those who have been on a subway in Mars the last few months, Rocker insulted just about every minority in the world during a Sports Illustrated interview. He described teammate Randall Simon as a ”fat monkey” and disparaged gays and foreigners.

Commissioner Bud Selig originally suspended Rocker for all of spring training and the first 28 days of the regular season, fined him $20,000 and ordered him to get sensitivity training after the divisive comments. The fine was cut to $500.

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Now as long as the Braves are winning, everything in the Atlanta clubhouse will sail along rather smoothly. But if things get rocky and players start pushing too hard or get too frustrated, I imagine Rocker will get the brunt of that frustration.

Besides, haven’t the Braves had the top farm club system in the league the past few years? Wouldn’t it be less of a chance to bring in a good relief pitcher?

And who knows, Rocker could be another Dennis Rodman. He may like the attention he gets taking on the world. And he’s certainly going to be scrutinized.

What happens when he throws a brushback pitch against a Hispanic ballplayer? What happens the first time he enters a game with the lead only to lose the game?

The Major League Baseball season is a long one. And in Atlanta it’s going to be long and hot this summer. Let’s just hope cooler heads prevail throughout the season.

Now on to Darryl Strawberry.

Strawberry was was caught taking cocaine for the third time in his career and suspended for a year.

New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner and manager Joe Torre were in Strawberry’s corner, hoping he wouldn’t get a severe punishment, saying they were concerned if Strawberry were not involved in baseball.

So, let’s see, we let him off for the third time and teach him a real lesson, right.

Michael Lindsey is making plans for a Natchez High/North Natchez/South Natchez alumni baseball game on March 25.

Lindsey just wants to see who will register and then he’ll go from there.

It would be great to see a bunch of former Colonel, Ram and Bulldog players back together again. Maybe we could get Gill Morris to coach Natchez, Buddy Wade to head the Colonel team and get Bobby Hill back for the Rams.

It would be worth it just to see Wade back in the third base coaching box yelling, &uot;Let’s go Blue,&uot; and laying down the squeeze sign.

And finally, don’t worry farmers, rain is sure to get here soon.

The Vidalia High Baseball Tournament starts Thursday and ends Saturday.

Viking head baseball coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir can tell you that if his tournament is scheduled, rain is sure to be on the way – and don’t rule out sleet or snow.

It seems the last few years Hoffpauir has had to reschedule this tournament because of the weather. So if the dry conditions do continue, at least one streak will be broken.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at