Curveball

Kenny Rogers and his favorite cameraman reach a settlement--and common ground

But for whatever reason, there are assholes that still side with Rogers. Like the one at The Sports Authority who ran up behind Rodriguez pretending to deliver a shove before being stopped by an off-duty police officer. Like the belligerent one who followed Larry and Angelita from a Stars game all the way to their car yelling, "You're the guy Kenny Rogers beat up!" And the group at Mansfield High School who, at a recent basketball game, spotted Rodriguez and began chanting "Ken-ny! Ken-ny!"

"The whole thing," says Rodriguez, "has changed me forever."

More than the jerks or even Rogers, Rodriguez remains most miffed at the Rangers. Six days after the incident, owner Tom Hicks called to apologize. But since July 4, not a peep from the organization whose lax security and lethargic reaction to Rogers' 90-second tirade left Rodriguez with permanent wounds and the franchise with a stained reputation.

"It's very disappointing," says Rodriguez, who will likely be working at Ameriquest Field when Rogers returns to Arlington during the Rangers-Tigers series beginning April 6. "If my son was responsible for hurting another kid, my involvement and concern would consist of more than one phone call."

Through it all, not once did Rodriguez dream of starring in a South Parkepisode and screaming the recurring obituary, "Holy freaking crap, they killed Kenny!" OK, maybe once, but...

"I forgive him, I really do," Rodriguez says of the anti-Mr. Rogers, who still has misdemeanor assault charges pending in Arlington. "I actually wished he was still a Ranger, because we need a good left-handed pitcher."

Forgiveness 1, Forgetting 0.

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