After getting into a heated post-immunity challenge argument with the opposing tribe's Natalie Anderson on Wednesday's episode, the former MLB pitcher soon found his own tribe turning against him and voting him out in a blindside.
The worst twist? Rocker had an immunity idol in his pocket that he didn't even bother to play.
"I just started to get a little greedy," Rocker tells TVGuide.com. "They call it a blindside for a reason."
Read our full Q&A with Rocker to see what he thinks of Natalie and her sisterNadiya, why he's "too honest" to be good at Survivor, and why he believes his girlfriend Julie will have an easier time now that he's gone.
TVGuide.com: First things first, why didn't you play the idol you had? Especially after what went down at the challenge with Natalie telling your tribe to vote you out.
Rocker: We weren't competing very well in the challenges. We kept having a terrible time. We were missing some of the rewards and the immunity challenges, and I just assumed that, being the best athlete on my tribe ... as long as we were struggling in challenges and as long as Dale was involved — he was arguably our weakest competitor — that I'd be safe. I knew at some point in time prior to the Merge I was going to have to use the idol. I just didn't think it was going be on Week 3. I thought I had at least one more vote to get through and I just started to get a little greedy with my idol I guess. Just overplayed my hand a little bit.
It's a good point. The tribe definitely lost a physical advantage by voting you out.
Rocker: I won't spoil anything, but it's really interesting how the next challenge goes down. It's actually pretty funny. Be prepared to be entertained.
What was your reaction when you got voted off?
Rocker: To be honest, I was pretty happy I was going to get something to eat. ... 'Point me to the nearest bar and the nearest meal. Get me the hell out of here.' I was actually kind of happy I got voted off. I lost 19 pounds in 10 days. That's some legit s---, right there.
Let's talk about the challenge. Things got pretty heated with you and Natalie.
Rocker: What you didn't see was, in the challenge prior ... every time their tribe would win, Natalie would leave the arena [trash-talking]. I mean, "Motherf---in" and "goddammit," "you bunch of f----- pussies." Not like 10 seconds. I mean, like, a minute worth of just dog-cussin' us. And we're like, 'You just won. You've really got to be an assh--e? You've really got to do that?' And so, [this] challenge was a little back and forth, doing the same thing. She's walking across the top of those wood beams there, flipping us off with both hands. "F--- you guys, f--- you." And then for whatever reason ... she gets back to her side and starts singling me out personally. So now I've got a choice: Either sit there and look like a big wimp for getting dog-cussed by a woman and just taking it, or fire back and look like an assh--e. So, I chose to look like an assh--e.
As far as how all that went down, I'm not kidding myself to say that I don't come with some kind of stigma, some kind of stereotype, some kind of assumptions that people make about me. And until you get to know me, that's just what you're going to think. You're going to just assume I'm an assh--e, assume I'm a bigot. ... But over the years, not one single person that actually knows me had come forward and agreed with any of those statements about me. Not a single one. In fact, it's been exactly the opposite. People that know me defend me.
Have you spoken to Natalie since?
Rocker: We're friends now. I was actually on a Skype phone call [with them] last night. I was in L.A., so they were watching it before me. I was sitting there talking to them as they were watching it. As Natalie's yelling at me I'm like, "Really, Natalie? Are you proud of yourself right there?" So, we of course had a little banter with that. And she's since apologized to me. I got to spend a lot of time with [Nadiya] at Ponderosa and became good friends with her, and then of course they get back to Jersey and she tells Natalie, 'He's actually a good dude. We're actually pretty good friends. You'd really like him.' ... Playing 13 years of professional baseball, I've heard a lot of s---. I've said some really bogus stuff in my life too. Nadiya, she can keep up with me word for word. Several times, she'd come out with something that would even make me blush.
Let's talk about Val and Jeremy. Why did you apologize to him for not protecting Val, when really it was her bluff about having two idols that got her voted out?
Rocker: When you're out there, you can't talk to the other tribe. You get that passing moment where you've got three or four seconds. I said, 'Dude, I'm sorry. I did all I could do.' If I could have talked to him for two minutes, it would have been drastically different. But you don't have that opportunity.
That kind of set off the chain of events that led to your elimination.
Rocker: He thought I stabbed him in the back. So, he actually spread the vitriol through the tribe ... and basically just turned the tide of opinion — that was already teetering on negative anyway — really turned it full force against me.
Why do you think Val lied to you about having two idols?
Rocker: I don't understand [why]. ... I even explained it to her. I'm like, 'Val, tell me if you don't have an idol.' Of course, she'd known me for like two hours at this point so she didn't trust me, but ... if she had just simply said, 'No, I don't [have an idol],' I would have handed her my idol. I would have given it to her ... hoping that that'll protect her and, post-merge, if Julie was still around ... we'd have a nice little four-person alliance that would be really, really sturdy. All she had to say was 'No.' Done. But she just kept insisting.
You had been trying to lay low keep your identity a secret coming into the game, but obviously your past came back to haunt you. If you could go back, would you do anything differently?
Rocker: No, I don't think I could have done anything any different. Every year, you see an athlete gets on there, and they don't make it much past the third, fourth, fifth week anyway. ... I wanted to go out there and just be as nice as I could, be as helpful as I could, try to find some good partners, try and form what I thought would be a solid alliance. Try to be as honest as I could. That's probably one thing that hurts me. I'm too honest. I'm too forthright. And I guess I just assume that other people are going to be the same way. I'm probably not conniving and manipulative enough to be really good on Survivor.
Do you think being a celebrity automatically puts a target on your back?
Rocker: It definitely does, but at the end of the day Survivor's a business. They're trying to get ratings and make money and have someone on there that the public recognizes. It's fun and entertaining for us to do, and I can always look back and say I did Survivor, kind of a neat life experience. It was fun. It's definitely not set up or designed for the somewhat public eye-type person to do well. It's just not going to happen.
Julie got upset this week because she said your reputation was hurting her in the game. Do you think she'll have an easier time of it now that you're gone?
Rocker: She definitely will. ... I know a lot of times women can be a little catty and just pre-judge if somebody appears to be real high-maintenance. But Julie really dispels those opinions about her pretty quickly when she meets people. She has such an open personality and is so easy to like. And without the monkey of me on her back, yeah, I think going forward it probably will be a little easier for her.
Were you hoping to change some people's negative perceptions of you by playing Survivor? And if so, do you think you succeeded?
Rocker: I don't know. I haven't read any opinion polls so I have no idea. I just wanted to do the show. I just thought it would be something cool to do ... and I thought it'd be a good opportunity for Julie. ... I didn't really weigh, 'What's this going to do for my public perception?' I don't really care, to be honest with you.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
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