I asked her point blank: “Val, do you have an idol? Did you ever consider giving your immunity idol to Val?
Looking back on it, would that have helped you stay in the game — using your idol to keep Val around, which would have made Jeremy a happy man, and would’ve calmed the rest of his tribe (and therefore your tribe) down?
He'd saved 38 games in the regular season while striking out 104 batters in 72.1 innings. Then, as we exited the school, Rocker palmed the CD. He grinned, said, "You don't mind if I grab this..." and took .
It’s hard to say but hopefully now that I am out that will take a target off of Julie’s back.
It’s probably the best thing that could happen for her game. I thought going into it that there would secretly be bottled water and some food given to us but that was not the case.
If Val had been honest and said she didn’t have an idol I probably would have given mine to her.
I made a promise to Jeremy and I intended to keep it. What was going through your head while you were getting called out?
And yet, through it all, remains there—looming, hanging, wandering around, tweeting angrily, aggressively and irrationally. He was engaging and friendly and, I believed, relatively intelligent. At one point, with Girlfriend I in the front passenger seat and me sitting in the back, John asked if I'd ever been to Disney World."Sure," I said."You know all those characters who walk around the park? It's depressing.")—even though he knew the city was my home. The one thing I recall: When he pulled away, I phoned my mother. "And you're not gonna believe what just happened…"***Truth be told, upon returning to New York I struggled mightily with what, exactly, I should do with the interview. Then, one afternoon, I started thinking about something that happened four years earlier, when I was living in Nashville and writing for the daily newspaper.
"Get it done by week's end."I approached Rocker and asked if he could spare some time. We spent, oh, 20 minutes chatting in the cramped visiting clubhouse, and over the ensuing days I grabbed 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. I picked it up and said, "Hey, you dropped this."The day got weirder. When she exited the car, he called his other girlfriend. They're all f-----g f----ts."Later on, as we drove from there to here and here to there, John filled me in on some of his social takes, referring to Randall Simon, his black teammate, as a "fat monkey" and making it clear he was no fan of the Big Apple ("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 kids. Maybe this was his way of playing the role of John Rocker, WWE superstar. Hell, there was a story already written—John Rocker: Misunderstood Baseball Star.
I spoke with John over e-mail about his blindside exit from the game, complete with a hidden immunity idol in his pocket, as well as his thoughts on how Julie’s playing, his relationship with Jeremy and Val Collins after failing to protect the Massachusetts police officer as promised, how his controversial past played into the game on the beach, and exactly why his experience was so miserable. Why do you think Josh and the others turned on you, when Baylor was supposed to be sent packing? Was there ever a moment where you considered playing that idol? It seemed like your past came up pretty quick out there: Wes knew who you were and confronted you about it, and we saw Dale tell the rest of the tribe about who you are. At what point did people know your story, and start talking to you about it? I was hoping no one would recognize me but pretty much right off the bat I realized that was not going to happen. You came up with this plan to protect each other’s loved ones. Jeremy, Val and I are good friends now that the game has ended. I fully intended on protecting Val and wanted to work with Jeremy.
Staying on the Val thing, she tells you she has two immunity idols. Was there any part of you that thought she was lying, or did you buy her bluff — and if so, why? Yeah, at that point I had an idol so of course I thought she could be bluffing.
John Rocker’s girlfriend Julie Mc Gee is a spray-tan business owner and future Survivor contestant. First of all, owning a spray-tan business is sort of like the Sopranos equivalent of “going straight.” You’re not committing any crimes, but your level of greasiness and low-brow practices continues unabated.
Spraying on a tan is sort of baffling to me because it’s very easily spotted and rarely improves one’s looks. Instead of classic single player competitive Surviving, we have couples vying for the million bucks.
I spoke with a couple of teammates—Terry Mulholland, Kerry Ligtenberg—and they seemed to like him well enough. He was a bigoted, xenophobic caveman, and I felt no need to protect a person with such beliefs. At one point we squatted on the curb, and a local singer I'd once profiled stumbled upon us.