Earlier this week, the Round Rock Express announced that they acquired a right-handed hurler with an exceedingly unorthodox back story: Billy Ray “Rojo” Johnson.
Biographical details are scant, but here’s what we do know:
Johnson, who was born in East Texas but was raised in Venezuela, recently had his prison sentence commuted. He served time for running a smuggling ring that imported rare and illegal species of reptiles into the United States from South America during the mid-to-late 1990s. Thursday night’s game marks Johnson’s first in American professional baseball after a storied career in the Venezuelan leagues.
Rojo entered the ballgame in the top of the sixth inning, and lasted just one pitch (seen above). Then, chaos erupted. Let’s go to the video (jeez, way to give away the joke, video description):
Rojo’s outfield headlock of the rampaging “number four” was an impromptu tribute to Express owner Nolan Ryan, who famously handled Robin Ventura in the same manner. The similarities end there, however: Ryan never drank Budweiser on the mound, let alone sprayed it on an angry opponent. And he certainly refrained from the illicit smuggling of South American lizards.
My indefatigable MiLB.com colleague Danny Wild was all over this story last night, working until dawn in order to bring it to the masses. Click HERE for a recap and photo gallery. Further snapshots are available on the Express’s Facebook page, and a local television news piece can be viewed HERE.
Meanwhile, Rojo’s “friend” Will Ferrell is in the Round Rock area today for the “Will Powered Golf Tournament” (which benefits College for Cancer, an organization providing college scholarships to cancer survivors). No word yet on whether “Rojo” will make an appearance, ready to show the world that his golf skills are commensurate with those he displayed on the mound.