The HBO comedy Eastbound and Down ushered in of a new type of dark hilarity and became a television cult classic in the process. The protagonist, Kenny Powers, is an obnoxious, crass Southerner who has fallen from grace after his professional baseball career has abruptly ended. But who was the inspiration for the character?
At the height of his career, John Rocker was one of the best closers in professional baseball, and also one of the most disliked people in the game. In 1999, comments he made that were printed in Sports Illustrated came to represent the worst of American culture: racist, homophobic, and xenophobic. He apologized for the remarks later, but Rocker’s crass and confrontational nature never died, and there’s something kind of lovable and funny about the guy; after all, he’s just a baseball player. Or maybe not? This is the real Kenny Powers.
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