It always happens. Whenever someone even semi-famous comes on Survivor and hopes to fly under the radar, they are recognized. Former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel almost made it all the way through Survivor: Philippines, until Jonathan Penner forced her to reveal her secret at the final Tribal Council. Even Gary Hogeboom, who was mostly a backup quarterback in his NFL career, was recognized when he played in Survivor: Guatemala. All it takes is one person to connect the dots and your game could be through.
So will it happen to former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker when Survivor: San Juan del Sur commences on Sept. 24? I asked the outspoken and controversial athlete about that when I spoke with him and his girlfriend Julie McGee out in Nicaragua the day before filming began and you can see his response in the video player below.
“I would like to live in a fantasy world and think it’s not going to happen,” said Rocker. “When you play on TBS for 5 years, about 180 games a year when you consider the playoffs, and you did that for five or six years, it’s going to be very tough, especially when you played on World Series stages and Yankee Stadium.”
His instincts are correct on this one because married couple Val and Jeremy told me before the game that they knew exactly who he was. So what does Rocker plan to do if and when recognized? “It may take them a few days to put their finger on it, but I think somebody’s gonna put their finger on it,” he said. “And I’ve already thought that if that happens, maybe that person becomes my target before they can spread throughout ‘This guy’s a major league baseball player. A retired guy. He’s got plenty of money. Let’s just get him out of the way.’ So that person may become my target or that person may become my biggest ally I don’t know.”
So, basically, John Rocker has no idea what he’s going to do. But that’s not as bad as it sounds. Survivor is a game all about adaptability and you have to constantly tailor your game to the situation at hand. Will Val and Jeremy (or anyone else, for that matter) come after Rocker because of his past on the diamond or past controversial comments? We’ll find out when the season kicks off on Sept. 24, but in the meantime, check out the video below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.