Why I Am Proud of Fernando Rodney

Sean HeyboerContributor ISeptember 9, 2009

ST LOUIS - OCTOBER 26:  Fernando Rodney #59 of the Detroit Tigers wipes his face in the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Four of the 2006 World Series on October 26, 2006 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

I am finally proud of Fernando Rodney.

You heard me right. Fernando Rodney is awesome.

Before you begin your tirade, let me explain something: I have never, ever, ever, ever, EVER been a fan of Rodney. Ever. The proof is here. I have been so overcritical of him that I cannot even claim not to have a bias.

So why have I made a sudden turnaround in my opinion of him, especially in the midst of such a boneheaded move that he has cost the Tigers three games' worth of crooked hat saves?

The reason is simple: passion.

Fernando Rodney came very close to blowing a three-run lead that had only occurred an inning earlier due to some late heroics. What did he do next? He grabbed the ball he had used to almost blow the game and fired it into the stands. Fernando was pissed, and rightfully so.

Was it a good idea to throw a 97 mph fastball into the Tropicana Field bleachers? No. Could he have seriously hurt someone? Of course. Did he act without thinking of the outcome? Yup.

Is acting on emotion and putting it all on the line with basically no time to think about the consequences exactly what a closer should do? Damn right.

For the first time in the history of watching Fernando Rodney, I felt like he was genuinely consumed with anger. He couldn't believe he had almost cost the Tigers a game. He acted without concern—without consternation. Dare I say, I am proud of him?

Had he hurt someone, it would have been terribly unfortunate. He would have paid severely. But the ball missed everyone.

It rattled around the press box and came to rest without injuring a soul. It landed exactly where it should have, which may have been the only time Fernando threw a ball in the right spot all night. 

-s

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