Report From The Fort: Fernando Rodney Relishes Your Pain
Image courtesy of © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsHis saves were painful to watch. Men on base. Full counts. Long innings. Times when you’re sure he will never throw another strike. And then, somehow, victory, redemption, and 300 career saves. Which is great for him and for the team and the fans, provided your heart clung to life through the final out.
It might help to know that Rodney wants all of this. He wants the drama. He might even need the drama.
“I am very focused when the game is on the line,” he explains. “I like to live the moment. When the game is on the line, I feel like I’m more controlled. And I feel like I can control the game and that’s the place I like.” That control is also achieved by the agonizing pace he has on the mound. “I take my time. Every time, take my time,” says Rodney.
We talked about how his mindset is similar to something that many fans have experienced: speaking in public. The speaker might find themselves rushing through their story and need to consciously tell himself or herself to slow down, to make the dramatic pause. “Exactly,” agrees Rodney. “That is exactly what I’m looking for. When I get there, I try to convince myself to move in slow motion and do (dramatic pause) the job (dramatic pause) slow.”
Minnesota fans can take some solace in the same thing we seemingly always take solace in – other fans’ pain. Because if you think it’s painful to watch Rodney deliver a victory at home, imagine watching him wriggle out of a jam against your team on the road. Rodney seems to relish that, and the snail’s pace makes it all the more delicious.
“I try to slow down. I feel like when you try to slow down, you control most of the things that happen in the game. Especially with the fans,” he says as he grins. “When you go to different cities, different towns, they try to yell at you. They say a lot of things to you. Well, that’s what I want to hear. That’s why I’m here.”
So remember: it isn’t that Rodney necessarily wants you to suffer – it just might be what the Fernando Rodney Experience is. Fortunately Minnesota Twins fans might have a built-in advantage. Most of us are also Vikings fans, so how bad can the pain be, really?
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