Embattled pitcher wasn't discouraged from attending

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Kenny Rogers knew what was coming.

He doesn't like doing interviews, and obviously doesn't care for
cameras. But after his temperamental outburst made national
headlines late last month, the Texas Rangers pitcher realized he
would be the center of attention if he showed up at the All-Star

He came anyway.

Rogers said no one from Major League Baseball had contacted him to attempt to discourage him from coming.

"If someone would have, I would have been open to listening," Rogers said. "But I'm a little on the stubborn side."

However, he later said he "wasn't interested in listening to people who don't know me."

"I wanted the players who voted for me to know that I
appreciated it, and I didn't want those votes to be wasted,"
Rogers said Monday. "When you are voted in by the players, it is
probably more of an honor than being selected.

"I thought about a lot of things, but when you get the
opportunity to play, especially at this point in my career, you
want to take advantage of it because of all the people who helped
you get here. I always think about other people, but I don't feel
like I'm detracting from anyone by being here," he said.

Swarmed by dozens of reporters and cameras in a hotel ballroom,
the 40-year-old left-hander sat at a table and calmly answered
questions for 45 minutes.

He didn't appear especially annoyed as he was being grilled
about shoving two cameramen before a game on June 29, sending one
to the hospital and prompting a police investigation. He just
sounded resigned to the fact that he needed to go through this.

"I figured everyone would be at this table. I'm sure the rest
of the guys love this, because they don't have to worry about it,"
Rogers said.

"I don't care for publicity, but I know there's a certain part
I have to play. I know some guys have missed this in the past, but
I didn't see how that would be helpful. If I knew this would get it
all over with, I would have been here yesterday, and I'd stay a lot
longer. This is the only way to get past it. It isn't an escape,
but when it is all said and done, it will be a good thing," he

Rogers was suspended for 20 games and fined $50,000 -- the same
amount as his contract bonus for making the AL All-Star team --
after his tirade. But he's continued to pitch while the players'
association appeals the penalties, and commissioner Bud Selig said
Rogers has every right to be at baseball's summer showcase.

"A player has the right to appeal, as you do in any justice
system," Selig said. "I did what I had to do with Kenny Rogers,
and Kenny Rogers is going through the appeal process as he is
entitled to do, and there's no less excitement in Detroit and
around the country about the All-Star Game.

"He's done something that he'll probably regret the rest of his
life, but he's paying the price right now."

However, not everyone is glad Rogers showed up. Rudy Santos, a
fan attending Monday night's Home Run Derby at Comerica Park,
thinks the pitcher's presence is a huge distraction.

"He's one hell of a pitcher, but you know what they say about a
second of stupidity. He got elected, but it was pretty bad what he
did," Santos said.

Rogers, a three-time All-Star, isn't worried about whether the
tirade will tarnish his baseball legacy.

"I have no control over what people think of me or what they
remember about me. This is just one episode in my life, and I'll
let my whole career stand on its own," he said. "I'll take
whatever shots people give me, and at the end, I'll still be

Rogers broke a bone in his non-pitching hand when he smashed a
water cooler in frustration after coming out of a start on June 17.
Then, 12 days later, he pushed a TV cameraman and ripped a camera
from the arms of another as he came onto the field for pregame

Rangers general manager John Hart said Rogers was angry over the
perception by some fans and reporters that he skipped a start the
day before his outburst as a possible negotiation ploy. Rogers is
in the last year of his contract and has been seeking an extension
since the offseason.

"I let myself be lowered by certain things into that situation,
and I shouldn't have. No matter what, I should have been able to
rise above it," Rogers said.

The pitcher has apologized, but gave no explanation for his
behavior when he read from a handwritten statement last week or
spoke to a group of reporters for the first time this season on

He wouldn't answer any specific questions about it on Monday,
either, saying he had to be careful about what he said because of
the appeal and a possible assault charge.

"He has to explain his story," Boston's Johnny Damon said.
"There's tons of media that's asking the same question. He's got
to be prepared to answer it the right way. He's being a man about

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.