Friday, September 4, 2009

Buzzed in the box

I've heard of pitchers being wild, but Fernando Rodney's last offering Friday was a tad high.

The Tigers reliever almost chocked away a three-run ninth inning lead, but managed to hold on to what became a 4-3 win over the Rays when he got Willy Aybar to bounce out to first base with the tying run at third and the winning run at second.

Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera handed the ball to Rodney, and the hard-throwing right-hander threw it into the Tropicana Field press box, where it came close to hitting an unsuspecting writer who was busy trying to make deadline.

That writer was me. So I'm told.

I was pounding away on the keyboard of my laptop, paying the least bit of attention to what was going on down on the field.

Why should I?

What happens after a game that can hurt someone sitting four floors above the field?

Now, it is a different story during the game. Foul balls sail back here all the time, so you find yourself writing with one eye on your screen and one eye on the game.

In fact, I caught a foul ball off Ben Grieve's bat on Opening Day 2003. Gave it to a kid, too.

Anyway ... back to Friday.

I heard several people yell, "Watch out!" And I heard what sounded like a ball smacking something in the booth, a sound I've heard many times.

By the time I realized what had happened, the ball bounced off the desktop about 10 feet to my right and was pin-balling around the back of the press box.

Soon after, Rodney was confronted by a reporter - not me, I was still on deadline.

Rodney said this: "I know we're not supposed to throw the ball, but I did. I was celebrating the moment."

Good for you, Rodney. Getting save No. 32 is a big occasion for anyone.

Next time hand it to a Detroit fan. You know, the ones who sit behind the third base dugout at the Trop.

You should be able to reach them with ease, unless your control was as wild in the ninth inning Friday.

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