A few days ago, I received a well-written email from John Rocker. It wasn’t the first—I’d gotten at least twenty over the previous two months, some of them more than 1,500 words long—but this one was forwarded from his long-suffering publicist, Debi Curzio. I’d recently written an article about Rocker for Atlanta magazine’s 50th anniversary issue. I thought it was a fair story—perhaps even too fair to baseball’s most infamous player of the last two decades. But Rocker was not pleased. I share his reaction below because I’m curious whether other readers of the story found it to be fair, interesting, or, well, anything like what he describes.
Though she predictably sided with her employer in the email to him below, Rocker’s publicist called a few days later to pitch me on another Atlanta Braves closer she represents. “Would you be interested in writing about Craig Kimbrel?” Curzio asked. (The Braves current closer, Kimbrel is having a good season.) It hadn’t occurred to me, I said. “The only thing I ask,” she continued, “is that you don’t compare him to Rocker.”
So she liked the article? “Yeah, I think it was well-done, overall,” Curzio said. “John’s tough to please.”
From: Debi Curzio [mailto:[redacted]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:26 AM
To: John Rocker
Subject: Re: article
Sorry John. This email landed in my junk folder. Just found it.
Very well done. I would use every word except “gutless pukes.” I think it’s fine to send to him if you still want to. As for the editor, I will call him if you want me to as well.
—– Original Message —–
From: John Rocker
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 4:43 PM
Thank you for refreshing my memory as to why I swore off print articles. You guys are all the same. You try and come across “buddy, buddy”, all the while having 95% of the article already written before the interview even takes place. All you need is the ability to use some quotation marks; so your article will be called an interview instead of an op ed piece. I rarely read my own press, but thought I would check this one out. Based on the minimal amount of things I’ve read about myself this seemed like nothing more than a typical effort at plagiarism. There was little to nothing in this article that hadn’t already been hashed, rehashed and then had the rehashing rehashed again. Even after going to great lengths to offer up additional material via email correspondence very little of the information I related in my emails was included in your article. Two points specifically were the detailed accounts I gave you regarding incidents with Jeff Pearlman and Steak Shapiro. Each account has been voiced numerous times by Pearlman and Shapiro as they have direct access to a media medium. You asked me to recount my version of the stories which I did in a very lengthy email. After making such an effort, however, once again a slanted version of the stories was told by you leaving out nearly everything that was included in my version and solely focusing on what the biased media has already reported on numerous occasions.
On the flip side there was a glaring omission of any accusations of racism or bigotry. At first glance this would appear to be an attempt to possibly turn the page from something the media has long obsessed about yet has been disproven time and time again by accounts from my personal life. Thinking about it in a little greater detail, however, it would have been very contradictory to you and what small amount of credibility you have to have taken that angle as there is moderate mention of Otis Nixon and Alicia Marie. This couldn’t be a positive article though. Imagine the hazing you would receive from your trollish brethren if you had done something so bold as to write a nice article about “John Rocker”. So instead you churn back through the archives of pointless blather to find some good quotes or accusations that would stick to your “Don’t forget that John Rocker is an asshole” theme. You awkwardly shove in comments about me supposedly not liking to speak to kids even though I was going to speak at a high school. I fail to see the relevance of such a comment in an article/magazine such as this except to reinforce a negative image that seems to be the tone of the majority of the article. There are several similar comments that completely lack relevance minus the reiteration of the theme that seems to be obvious. My only question is; was that the point? Actually, I already understand the answer to that question as being; it doesn’t matter how nice or personable someone is to you gutless pukes the song will always remain the same. I guess somewhere in my brain a naïve little kid must still live that foolishly hoped a new “fresh” article could be written. I certainly gave the open door of information for you to do that with. But as usual got pretty much the same old load of BS. I guess maybe one day I’ll do an interview with someone who possesses a bit more talent than the ability to merely cut and paste.