John Rocker

January 20, 2000

John Rocker is a "closer" for the Atlanta Braves. For those of you who don't follow baseball, a closer is a pitcher who comes in the 9th inning to close out a game. That means he tries to get the 25th, 26th, and 27th outs by pitching to powerhouse hitters like Barry Bonds. Frankly, you've got to have a screw loose to take a job like that.

And no one has ever accused John Rocker of being the most stable person in the world. Last fall when the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves met during the playoffs, Rocker said some things that lit up the rivalry.

But it got ugly when he sat down for a Sports Illustrated interview. He called New York "Beirut," a refuge for criminals, welfare mothers, foreigners, and AIDS-infected homosexuals. Actually, I've cleaned up the language quite a bit.

Reaction was harsh and swift, as it should be. But then something happened that should concern all of us. The commissioner of major league baseball called for John Rocker to undergo psychiatric tests. Apparently Bud Selig wants to know if John Rocker is off his rocker.

I guess we shouldn't be so surprised given that we live in the age of therapy. Isn't this just one more example of attempting to medicalize behavior that is objectionable? John Rocker is an outspoken, obnoxious jerk. He doesn't need therapy.

C.S. Lewis warned us about the danger of having a society of "official straighteners" in his essay on "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment." Unfortunately, that's the direction we are heading today, and the case of John Rocker proves it only so well. I really doubt that John Rocker is off his rocker, but I'm beginning to think that major league baseball is.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.