Rogers meets the media in Motown
Left-hander holds court for 45 minutes at ASG press gathering
DETROIT -- Rangers starter Kenny Rogers is the first to admit he does not like talking about himself, but that's exactly what he did for more than 45 minutes in front of national and international reporters on Monday as American League players met with the media at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
"It's hard for me to explain what I am all about and what I do unless you have basically seen me through my career," Rogers said. "You can take a snapshot of certain moments or whatever, but I think the whole career stands on its own -- good and bad. I really can't change anybody's opinion. Without a doubt, media influences opinion and I got caught up."
Surrounded by media, Rogers gave insight into his point of view, answering questions about his appearance in the 2005 All-Star Game and his behavior this year. Last month, Rogers was fined $50,000 and suspended for 20 games by Commissioner Bud Selig for a run-in with two cameramen at Ameriquest Field in Arlington. Rogers is appealing his suspension, which means he is eligible to play in the Midsummer Classic, but the left-hander did not announce his decision to attend until Sunday night.
"I think most of these [All-Stars] would rather I am here than I wasn't," Rogers said. "The only fact is, I am here and you guys are all surrounding me instead of surrounding them. Some guys really like it, some of us just want to play the game."
Rogers was voted into the All-Star Game by his peers along with shortstop Michael Young and second baseman Alfonso Soriano, and said that played a large role in his decision to attend. First baseman Mark Teixeira is the starting first baseman for the American League.
"I have thought about a lot of stuff," Rogers said. "The guys I have here, Tex, Sori and Michael. We had four guys voted in and I think everyone should get the opportunity. You want to come out here and accept that for all the people who gave you the opportunity to come here."
Rogers was cordial and polite, often answering the same questions more than once during his question and answer session. He laughed and smiled at times but spoke in a sincere tone. It was a far cry from the Rogers who has refused to speak to most media since Spring Training. When asked about the media boycott in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Rogers took a serious tone.
"I really don't think it is the appropriate time to address that," he said. "I'm just a private guy. I like to be under the radar and do my business. I'm really not in search of publicity that comes with that stuff. Whether that's right or wrong, it's something I never craved. Some people take that as weakness or whatever, but I don't think it's not a sign of weakness I don't want publicity. I don't like talking about myself."
The winningest left-handed pitcher in Rangers history, Rogers' stellar performances on the mound have garnered attention since the start of the season, but he was thrust into the international spotlight after yelling at two cameramen who were taping him, and then snatching one man's camera and throwing it to the ground hours before a game against the division-rival Angels at Ameriquest Field in Arlington. One cameraman was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. Both men later filed police reports.
Arlington police issued a citation to Rogers for misdemeanor assault in the case of the uninjured cameraman and are still investigating the other case.
Rogers later issued a statement and apologized. He had declined speaking with the press since there was a published report during Spring Training alleging he threatened to retire if he wasn't given a contract extension, but has recently softened his stance.
"My bad times have been many and I stuck through every one of them no matter how hard it might have been and how difficult times were," Rogers said. "I am going to make it through all of them. I'm going to be standing up when it's all over. This is another chapter."
Rogers had faced increased media scrutiny since he fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand on June 17, when he hit a dugout water cooler after being pulled from a game against the Washington Nationals. The 40-year-old made his next scheduled start against the Angels, but lasted only 3 1/3 innings and then missed a scheduled start. He has made two starts since appealing the suspension and is on track to start Thursday at Oakland.
He says his relationship with the media has been fine.
"I think I have days when I'm not great to talk to, just like everybody else does," he said. "I do a job that people want to know about, but I don't crave attention. I don't need my ego fed that way. I guess I get my ego fed by going out there and doing well and fans appreciating [that] in good and bad times."
American League teammates praised Rogers for attending the game and addressing the issues.
"The players did vote him in and he deserves to be here and I'm glad he came," Boston center fielder Johnny Damon said. "I'm glad he's here. He's confronting what happened and he's confronting it like a man, and that's all you can ask. Hopefully he'll enjoy these next couple of days."
Said Young: "I think you have to admire the fact that he is facing the music. Obviously, it's not a good situation to be in in the first place, but he is dealing with it."
Selig was less committal in his comments regarding Rogers. He did say Major League Baseball had not spoken with Rogers about appearing in the All-Star Game and the timing of the regular season suspension has created some misunderstanding.
"As for the personal decision Kenny made [to attend], it is something all of you will have to judge," Selig said.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.