Everyone knows the story. Kenny Rogers pushes a cameraman. He waits a week to apologize. He appeals his punishment. He finally serves his suspension and never really gives a sincere apology to the cameraman.
At the end of the season, Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers make it very clear that Rogers is not a part of the team’s future. Last week the Rangers chose not to even offer arbitration to Rogers.
He has now signed a very lucrative deal with the Tigers. He will spend the next 2 years in Detroit. And he will be paid very well ($16 million to be more precise).
But, if I were Kenny, all the money in the world could not begin to compensate for what I left in Texas. Rogers leaves Texas with a tarnished man. He leaves Texas without any fanfare. He leaves Texas without honor. Not that any of this matters to the man.
I thought that I knew Kenny Rogers. I got to know Kenny during his first stint with the Rangers. I met Kenny more than 15 years ago. As a play by play man, I spent a lot of time with the team back then and I got to know a lot of the players. But, I’m not going to pretend to know Kenny Rogers right now.
When you look at the statistics, Kenny Rogers is one of the best pitchers in the history of the team. He found a way to win in a very difficult park to pitch in. There is something wrong with Kenny Rogers leaving this way. Kenny should be leaving town on much better terms with the fans.
It shouldn’t have happened this way. And it could have been prevented. Yes, his apology was a week late. But, in retrospect I believe that Kenny was sorry for what he did. Maybe it was sorrow that he got involved in this awful incident that was going to haunt his career.
I made one last ditch attempt to reach Kenny Rogers last week. I got his number and called him. He was outside playing golf and the phone signal was very weak. We talked for a brief second and then the phone cut out. I called him right back and left him a message…Here’s what I told him:
“…Kenny, you may be leaving here. But don’t leave here under these circumstances…It doesn’t have to be this way…Fans will forgive…The Rangers organization will forgive…”
But, apparently Kenny doesn’t need that forgiveness. Hey, we all have flaws. We all make mistakes. But there is just something wrong here. The sad thing is that this was a good pitcher who spent a decade in a half building up a reputation in a city and pitching really good baseball. And he leaves here a pariah.
I don’t know if it is Kenny or his “advisers” but he ultimately chose to leave town this way. He snuck out of town under the cover of darkness with a dark cloud behind him. And that is just wrong.