In Which Phil Once Again Says Mean Things About K-Rod
by Philip Michaels
Your single-season saves record-holder Francisco Rodriguez -- and hey, that distinction worked out well for Bobby Thigpen, didn't it? -- likes to celebrate each of his saves with an elaborate dance as if he's never closed out a game before. I may have mentioned my dislike of this practice once or twice or possibly every time he does it, which would be roughly a jillion times. I am not alone in my disdain. This item from the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that the Athletics, while respectful of K-Rod's accomplishments, find his theatrical prancing to be... let us say "distasteful." I would not go so far as to suggest that they wouldn't be the least bit sad to see Francisco Rodriguez get run over by a stray AC Transit bus mid-celebration. That is my wish, not theirs.
Anyhow, I have a modest proposal for K-Rod. Instead of jumping and hollering every time he saves a ballgame -- which, really, appears to not be that difficult a task for Mr. Rodriguez -- how's about only dancing about in that "Hooray For Me!" fashion when you successfully complete a throw to first base? Judging by your form and results in Tuesday night's game, a simple 1-3 putout is a much more remarkable achievement for you.
One other note about the single-season record that formerly belonged to Bobby Thigpen: More than a decade ago, your faithful correspondent found himself without access to a TV and, therefore, had to listen to ESPN Radio to get his national baseball fix. The color man on those ESPN radio games in the mid-'90s was Jeff Torborg, the same man who called upon Bobby Thigpen every day until his arm fell off.
One time Thigpen's name came up in the radio broadcast, which caused Jeff Torborg to ruminate about that 1990 season in which the Sox reliever saved a then-record 57 games. "You know," Torborg said in the tone of voice meant to invite his play-by-play partner to immediately leap in to his defense, "a lot of people think I ruined Bobby Thigpen's career by having him save that many games."
The 15 seconds of dead air that followed spoke volumes.