One of the most polarizing figures in Atlanta Braves history is making waves yet again. Former pitcher John Rocker admitted during a radio interview earlier this week that he tested positive for steroids in 1999.
Rocker informed radio host Mike Silva that after his inflammatory Sports Illustrated interview in 1999, he tested positive for steroids.
"Let's be honest. Who wasn't [using steroids]?" Rocker said.
Rocker, whose most infamous moment came just before he tested positive – when he insulted what seemed like half of New York City – said that the performance-enhancing drugs did not make him a better pitcher, but that he could throw harder and it improved his confidence.
"Can I throw three or four mph harder because of it? Yes," Rocker said. "Was my breaking ball better because of it? No. The reason was [for taking it] with my teammates and their confidence laying on my shoulders, with the coaching staff and their confidence on my shoulders, with the millions of Atlanta Braves fans, I am not going to step on that mound with that kind of responsibility with my gun half-loaded. Knowing the people I am going to be facing, I know what they're doing; I am not coming to the mound half-cocked."
Rocker's playing days involved no formal Major League PED testing policy. He went 13-22 with a 3.42 ERA and 88 saves in six seasons. He spent his first three-plus seasons with the Braves, and recorded 38 saves in 1999. After compiling a 2.63 ERA with the Braves, he was dealt in June of the 2001 season to the Cleveland Indians, which is when the wheels fell off his career.
In 38 games with Cleveland, his ERA ballooned to 5.45. He spent 2002 with the Texas Rangers and put together a 6.66 ERA in 30 games before playing only two games in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
As for that infamous quote that Rocker gave to Sports Illustrated, he was asked if he would consider playing for the New York Mets, and replied with the following.
"I would retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing."
Rocker now seems to have better judgment, but just as much bluntness.
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