Atlanta Braves former relief pitcher John Rocker signs autographs for fans before the Braves game against the New York Mets at SunTrust Park. Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

In 1999, then-Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman interviewed Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker for what ended up being a viral profile piece in the days before things went viral.

What most people remember from the profile was Rocker’s outrageous comments about New York Mets fans and New Yorkers in general.

“It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city,” Rocker told Pearlman. “Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”

Rocker received a lot of condemnation over those and other comments, while Pearlman received his own fair share of criticism from Braves fans and Rocker supporters.

Turns out, that includes Rocker’s mom, who sent the writer a hand-written letter explaining her thoughts on him.

“1999, I write the John Rocker story. It comes out, it blows up, blah, blah, blah,” Pearlman said in a recent TikTok video. “One day I’m at the office, and we used to get letters, like actually hand-written letters. And a letter shows up in the mail and it’s from John Rocker’s mother, Judy. In the letter, she compares me to Jesus Christ.

“She says, ‘Like another young Jew, you faced a decision in your life. What to do and how to do it. And unlike Jesus Christ, you failed.’ And it was this crazy letter comparing me to Jesus and the Christ-like decision of being a Sports Illustrated writer, compared to the Christ-like decisions of being Christ.

“I was like, this is some crazy ****.”

That kind of critique of Pearlman ran in the family, apparently. In a 2006 Deadspin interview, Rocker said, “When people have an agenda, that’s all that matters. Jeff Pearlman is who he is: A liberal Jew from New York.”

The Rockers sound like a delightful family.

[Jeff Pearlman]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to