March 20, 2006 -- HAS race-baiting ex-Atlanta Brave John Rocker turned over a new leaf?
Spies spotted the retired redneck pitcher -- who drew the ire of the city with his impromptu bigoted tirade against nonwhite New Yorkers during the 1999 Braves-Mets playoff series - snuggling with a dark-complexioned ladyfriend at Butter on Monday night.
Our spywitness tattles, "[Rocker] was with a tall, model-esque black woman. She looked very familiar, and I heard some guy gawking at the bar say that she was a some kind of fitness model. She had huge boobs."
The improbable couple left the East Village hotspot at 3 a.m. holding hands, according to our eagle-eyed snitch.
We were skeptical at first that the bigoted ballplayer was involved in an interracial relationship, but it seems his about-face is for real. According to Rocker's rep, the woman on his arm that night was fitness model-cum-freelance-writer Alicia Marie, who is black.
Among other things, Rocker told Sports Illustrated in 1999, "The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block of Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
Rocker has been in town recently promoting Spike TV's reality show, "Pros vs. Joes," in which he stars alongside fellow retired jocks Jerry Rice and Dennis Rodman.
His strapping new sweetie, Marie, has modeled for Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Ironman, Planet Muscle and Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness. She also writes freelance fitness articles for other publications, according to her Web site.
On March 8, Marie penned a fawning profile of Rocker for widewebofsports.com that seems to signal her attraction to him: "Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at roughly around 220 toned and activity-conditioned pounds, Rocker strode out looking like an athletic Adonis, if you will, and every bit as impressive as he did in his Major League days."
Rocker's spokeswoman, Debi Curzio, tells Page Six's Fernando Gil, "They're just friends. She's a nice person, and he enjoys hanging out with her."