March 10, 2004

Calling Out Rocky Collis

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1. So, Rocky. Is that a stage name?

It is the only name I use. It was given to me before I was born. I’m named after Rocky Balboa, actually.

You’re kidding me.

My real name is Everett; it’s a family name. My parents were talking with friends and they said, “You don’t want him going through childhood with a name like Everett.”

Yeah, I can see how it would be traumatizing to have a name like Everett, or Eugene, or Per, or Francis…

My parents really liked Rocky I, so they called me “Rocky” and it stuck.

Does that make you a fan of Sylvester Stallone?

Oh, definitely. I have to be. If my phone rings during the interview, you’ll hear the Rocky theme.

Wow, that’s almost as lame as having “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Like me.

Hahaha, it’s close.

2. What is your earliest baseball memory?

Throwing with my dad in the back yard.

That’s kind of cliche`, huh?

Yeah, it is. But I remember it because I always pretended I was a catcher. I thought they were cool because they got to wear their hats backwards.

That predates Ken Griffey, Jr. You’re ahead of the style curve.

Yeah, I guess so.

3. What is the best baseball movie?

I guess I’d say Field of Dreams, but everyone says that. My favorite ones to watch are the Major League movies, I and II.

So, you try to pitch like Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn?

It has been my goal in life.

4. What’s your favorite major league team?

The Chicago White Sox.

Aren’t you from LA?

Yeah, but it’s a different kind of thing out there. Everyone —

— leaves Dodger Stadium in the seventh inning?

Exactly. There’s not a whole lot of state pride for the teams in California unless they’re winning. My dad’s family is from the White Sox side of Chicago, so I’ve always been a fan. My parents have pictures of me as a little kid wearing a full White Sox uniform.

Have you ever been to Comiskey?

I have. It’s a terrible ballpark, but I love it.

5. Did Bonds take steroids?

Absolutely.

What makes you say that?

The fact that in his late 30s he put on like 40 lbs. of muscle in one offseason. You can’t tell me that’s done naturally.

Should there be random and public testing of baseball players?

Absolutely. We need to know who’s cheating.

So, should his record 73 home runs have an asterisk next to them?

If he tests positive, yes.

6. How many games until A-Rod is the starting shortstop for the Yankees?

A-Rod is going to fall into a terrible slump and get ridiculed.

Ridiculed? In New York? That never happens.

Look what happened to Giambi. It’s going to be the same thing, but worse. People forget how good Giambi was in Oakland. A-Rod’s going down the same path.

7. What is the hottest women’s team at Cornell?

The soccer team is smokin’ hot.

Your girlfriend is on the soccer team, right?

Yes, she is.

Well, she’ll be very pleased to hear that.

8. Would you rather have the strength of 100 men, the ability to fly, or the power of invisibility?

I’d have to go with the strength. If you had the power of 100 men, you could throw the ball pretty damn hard. Can you say that?

What, “damn”?

Yeah.

Sure. We can say “fuck,” too.

Cool.

9. Have you ever scuffed the ball or anything to gain an advantage?

Not in a game, but I did learn how to throw a spitball when I was a kid. I never got good enough to think about trying it again.

Is Gaylord Perry a cheater or a genius?

A little bit of both. Having tried to throw a spitball, I can tell you that there’s a science to it. It’s not easy; it takes skill.

10. One word to describe your pitching style.

Aggressive. I love throwing fastballs.

Do you cut it, or throw the split-finger or anything?

Depends on the batter. The splitter will tail in on a right-handed hitter.

You like going inside, huh? Clemens likes going inside.

Yeah, he’s one of my favorite pitchers. I hate the Yankees and he’s a crazy bastard, but that’s the reason he’s so good. Hey, can I add something?

Sure.

I agree with what you said last time when you interviewed Kristen Smith.

Oh yeah, she’s dating one of your teammates and thinks your catcher is ugly.

Right. The catcher is my roommate and I’d like to say that I agree with her. He looks like a catcher and he smells like one, too.

He’s going to smother you in your sleep, you know.

He’ll think it’s funny.

Archived article by Per Ostman

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