CARACAS, Venezuela -- John Rocker tried to connect with the Venezuelan crowd Sunday, waving his cap to the crowd before the Atlanta Braves' 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay.
The response was more boos.
"I don't blame them," the controversial reliever said. "I said many foolish things, and it is fair that a lot of people are mad at me."
Rocker, suspended for the first two weeks of the season by commissioner Bud Selig for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in a magazine interview, was visibly affected by the crowd's disdain.
When the crowd booed, he lowered his gaze and put his cap back on. Still, he was taking the reaction in stride.
When four enthusiastic children approached him requesting autographs on their baseballs, Rocker said, "Things like this encourage me."
"One day," he said, "I'll be forgiven."
Rocker said his performance Saturday, when he allowed five of six batters to reach and allowed three of Tampa Bay's five runs, was not caused by the booing. He said he is having trouble with his grip two outings into the spring.