Rocc grants Clubber Lang a title shot
Rocco was the reason that I became a Rays fan.
2 Years Ago, I was probably the only Illinoian to admit to being hit with "Rocco-Mania" when he finally made it to the majors. Don't get me wrong, I didn't jump on the Rocco's bandwagon in 2003, I was a fan of him since I first seen his name in Baseball America playing for Bishop Hendrickson High School. The name cracked me up, I told everyone that he's got a great old-school mafia name and he's gonna be a hell of a player when he made it to the majors I drove my friends crazy, with facts and figures about Rocco's greatness as a rookie in 2003. I was even insane enough to vote multiple times to try and get Rocco into the All-Star game that year, ironically the game was being played in Chicago that year. He finished in 3rd place in the Rookie of the Year Voting that year and I demanded a recount and eliminating Matsui from that ballot.
In 2004, I joined many Rays Message Boards to learn about the rest of the team outside of Rocco. I was still a big Rocco fan, but as the season went on, I began noticing other players(coughcoughBRIGGYcough) and Rocco, because of injuries, dropped a bit in my fandom. I began liking the Rays as a whole, rather than just following Rocco.
In 2005, Rocco's season was nil...he jumped from 1 surgery and rehab to another. In November of 2004, Rocco tore his ACL playing around in a baseball diamond in his backyard. He got the surgery and rehabbed it and was just about to make his season debut...then he tore an elbow ligament in his arm and his season was OVER. He had to get season-ending Tommy John Surgery. However, he followed the team, rehabbed his elbow and leg with them while charting pitches during their 2nd Half Surge. Also, he dropped Super-swindler Scott Boras as his agent and elected to negotiate by himself.
Today, he officially signed a contract extension through 2011 worth 33 Million Dollars. He signed off his arbitration years and gave the team 3 "Team-Option" years. Also, his contract is laiden with incentives which will get him more money the more plate appearances that he gets. So, his goal until 2011 is to stay healthy and continue to improve as a player.
Picture Courtesy of MLB.com
Signed, Sealed and Delivered
By Jacob Larsen