Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Rogers refuses to take questions
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers apologized Wednesday for last week's tirade against two TV cameramen that sent one to the hospital and prompted a police investigation, but said he has not decided if he will go to next week's All-Star Game.
Rogers, who is appealing his 20-game suspension for the outburst, apologized to fans and the cameramen in his first public comments since the June 29 episode. He declined to take questions, and said he was speaking against the advice of his lawyer.
"I feel compelled to come before you and express my deep regret for my actions," Rogers said. "An incident that should have never occurred."
Rogers read from a two-page, handwritten statement. He was soft-spoken and paused several times during his two-minute address in a room packed with reporters and about a dozen cameras.
When he started to walk away from the podium, Rogers was asked if he planned to go to Detroit for the All-Star Game.
"I have made no decisions on anything else," Rogers said. "This is the issue I wanted to address and nothing else, I don't want to confuse anything else."
The 40-year-old left-hander (9-4, 2.45 ERA) was selected to the All-Star game on the players' ballot. His second straight selection and third of his 17-year career came Sunday, the same day he pitched 7 2/3 innings in a 2-1 loss at Seattle.
Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rogers and fined him $50,000, the same amount of the bonus in his contract for being on the All-Star team. The players' association appealed the penalty, allowing Rogers to keep playing until after a hearing and a decision.
The suspension was among the most severe imposed by the commissioner's office for on-field conduct in decades. Only the 30-day penalty given Cincinnati manager Pete Rose in 1988 for pushing umpire Dave Pallone was longer.
Last week, Rogers lashed out at the cameramen as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching. The episode was captured on videotape and led to KDFW cameraman Larry Rodriguez being treated at a hospital after the camera was ripped from his hands and thrown to the ground. A day earlier, the pitcher ordered cameras turned off around him in the clubhouse.
"I've been around this game for over 20 years. I prepare myself every day to control my emotions and act accordingly," Rogers said. "In this instance, I failed miserably."
Arlington police spokesman Christy Gilfour said Wednesday that Rodriguez and David Mammeli, a Fox Sports Southwest photographer who was first shoved but not injured, had filed assault reports.
No charges were filed, but Gilfour said Rogers would likely be issued a Class C citation for shoving Mammeli, a citation usually mailed to suspects and punishable by a fine of $500 or less.
Since Rodriguez was injured, that could be a Class A misdemeanor and remained under investigation, Gilfour said. That would be punishable by a fine up to $4,000, up to a year in jail, or both.
"I should have acted professionally, and I regret that was not the case," Rogers said. "I'm deeply disappointed and embarrassed in myself. ... This incident was completely out of character, and I think without question you know that it will never happen again."
Rogers, scheduled to pitch Saturday at home against Toronto, said he had apologized personally to teammates and looked forward to doing the same with Rodriguez and Mammeli.
"Hopefully, this is another step to getting it done with for everybody's sake," Texas manager Buck Showalter said.
"We've talked about it. It's not an issue for us anymore. All we're about is playing baseball," shortstop Michael Young said. "We wish it would have never taken place, no one more so than Kenny I'm sure."
Before giving up six runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings at Los Angeles on June 22, Rogers won nine straight decisions, a career best, and was the AL ERA leader. It wasn't known until after he pulled out of a start June 28 against the Angels, the day before shoving the cameramen, that he had a small broken bone in his non-pitching hand from punching a water cooler.
Boston's Terry Francona, a former Rangers coach who will manage the AL All-Star team, hasn't spoken to Rogers about his plans while in Texas this week.
"I said hello to him," Francona said. "Kenny's had a long week, he doesn't need me."