Rangers pitcher threatens and confronts cameramen

Updated: June 30, 2005, 2:07 PM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kenny Rogers' angry close-up with a couple of television cameramen put one of them in the hospital and could result in a suspension for the Texas Rangers' ace.

I can't imagine that Kenny Rogers' incident with cameramen is going to help his contract leverage in his negotiations with the Rangers.

He was so deliberate in his actions – it wasn't the same as punching a water cooler, a quick and regrettable response – that you have to wonder about what's going through his head.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of penalty Rogers gets from Major League Baseball. A game? Five games? Ten games? Merely a fine?
More from Buster Olney

Rogers shoved two cameramen before the Rangers' game against Los Angeles on Wednesday in a videotaped tirade that included throwing a camera to the ground and threatening to break more.

"Kenny is having anger issues right now," Rangers general manager John Hart said. "I don't know what's going on inside. We're responding to something that's very unusual."

Rogers, who missed his last start with a broken pinkie he sustained during an outburst earlier this month, lashed out at the cameramen as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching. He wasn't scheduled to pitch and was sent home by the club following the incidents.

The Rangers held a clubhouse meeting before the game to address the situation. After the game, a 7-6 victory over the Angels in 11 innings, they lent their support to Rogers.

"It's something we're going to keep in-house," said Gary Matthews Jr., who hit a two-run homer for the Rangers. "It's going to be between Kenny and the front office."

Hart said late Wednesday that the team contacted Major League Baseball, and wouldn't say whether the team would suspend Rogers.

Hart said he had talked to Rogers and "Kenny obviously realizes his actions were incorrect."

Kenny Rogers
APKenny Rogers could be facing a suspension -- and assault charges -- after Wednesday's pregame altercation.

"His comment to me was, `I didn't handle this right. I'm frustrated. My integrity and toughness is being called into question,"' Hart said.

The 40-year-old left-hander first shoved Fox Sports Net Southwest photographer David Mammeli, telling him: "I told you to get those cameras out of my face."

Rogers then approached a second cameraman. He wrestled the camera from Larry Rodriguez of Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW, threw it to the ground and kicked it.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound pitcher saw two other cameramen who were recording from the Rangers' dugout and walked toward them. He did not make contact with the men, who were backing away.

"I'll break every ... one of them," Rogers said before he was escorted to the clubhouse by catcher Rod Barajas.

The Rangers sent Rogers home about an hour later.

KDFW news director Maria Barrs said paramedics took Rodriguez to an Arlington hospital.

"He does have quite a bit of pain, in his shoulder and his arm and his leg," Barrs said. Rodriguez was treated and released.

Fox Sports Net Southwest spokesman Ramon Alvarez said Mammeli wasn't injured.

Footage shot by Dallas-Fort Worth station KTVT shows Rogers pushing Rodriguez's camera, which goes over the photographer's head and falls to the ground. As Rodriguez puts the camera back on his shoulder, Rogers approaches again, pushing the lens away and having words with the photographer.

As players begin to intervene, Rogers pulls the camera to the ground and kicks it before walking away.

Rodriguez said that when he picked up the camera the second time, his intentions were to keep getting footage of Rogers.

"I figured since now he vented that he was all good, but the second time was just a little bit too much," he said in an interview on KDFW.

Kenny Rogers
Starting Pitcher
Texas Rangers
15 9 3 33 44 2.46

"There's no question he was upset. I don't understand why we were the ... I don't know if we were the stem of the problem or what," he said. "I don't think we did anything wrong."

Texas lost eight of nine entering Wednesday night's game.

"I think it demonstrated an appalling lack of control," Barrs said. "The team doing poorly is no excuse for assaulting a guy who's just doing his job."

Arlington police spokeswoman Christy Gilfour said the department took an assault report from Rodriguez on Wednesday, and detectives were interviewing the victim and the suspect on Thursday. No charges had been filed.

"Although it is very early in the investigation, at this point, it appears we are investigating a misdemeanor assault case," Gilfour said in a statement released Thursday.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks said the team won't condone Rogers' actions and will handle the matter internally.

Rogers, who leads the team with nine wins, has refused to talk to reporters all season. He has also boycotted most media since a report before spring training that he threatened to retire if he wasn't given a contract extension.

"Kenny has had a short fuse dealing with the media," Hicks said. "I've heard stories about what may or may not have happened. He has issues. It's directed at the media and I don't know why."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press