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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Deadspin: Who Is The Blurry Guy In This Photo, And Why Did Manny Ramirez Steal His Pants? The Long Baseball Life Of “The Machete”

After Roger Clemens’s first start in the Atlantic League, the Associated Press sent across the wires a photo of him in the middle of his lumpy follow-through, pitching to an out-of-focus batter at the plate. The Hall of Famer, of course, had dropped in to pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters; his opponents that day were the Bridgeport Bluefish.

The faceless blur in the Bluefish jersey is Bridgeport’s everyday catcher, Luis Rodriguez. Atlantic Leaguers tend to fall into three categories. There are celebrity sideshows, like Clemens (and Jose Canseco and Rickey Henderson before him); there are marginal ex-major leaguers, like Bluefish outfielder Joey Gathright, who want one more shot at the bigs; then there are the lifers, like Rodriguez. He is 38 years old and has lasted 20 seasons in minor-league ball, the last five in Bridgeport. In that time, he has come close enough to the majors to have caught Clemens during a spring-training stint with the Blue Jays and to have struck up a boisterous friendship with Manny Ramirez, his former roommate. The AP photo is a nice summation of his career in baseball: a man standing in, on the blurry margin, while the lens locks its gaze on someone much more famous.

squatto Posted: September 19, 2012 at 01:09 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, minor leagues, red sox

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   1. Bruce Markusen Posted: September 19, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4240242)
Twenty years in the minor leagues. Yeesh.
   2. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: September 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4240255)
Did Clemens get black and yellow shoes just for a few starts? What a dweeb.
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4240256)
Twenty years in the minor leagues.


Twenty years catching in the minor leagues.
   4. Dangerous Dean Posted: September 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4240314)
Twenty years catching in the minor leagues.
Ouch.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1084975/index.htm

This guy didn't catch for 20 years. But his story is one of the reasons I grew up liking SI so much. This type of feature was what SI did so well in its day.
   5. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: September 19, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4240340)
That was a fun story to read and one of the reasons why baseball is my favorite sport.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 19, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4240351)
That was a fun story to read and one of the reasons why baseball is my favorite sport.

Except the part where his wife told him to pick his family, or baseball, and he picked baseball.
   7. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: September 19, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4240456)
Except the part where his wife told him to pick his family, or baseball, and he picked baseball.


Depends on what his wife looked like.
   8. squatto Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4240941)
I posted this article not simply because I enjoyed the hell out of the anecdotes - because I did - but because I was impressed by how much he loves his job. He's clearly one of those athletes who feels that playing a game he loves is a privilege, and wants to keep doing it as long as possible. Plus, he seems not at all bitter about never having had a chance for a MLB at bat.

I liked the Clemens anecdote, too.
   9. dave h Posted: September 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4240997)
He smiled when he recalls catching Pedro Martinez at his peak: "He says to me that first day: 'I'm working on fastballs in and fastballs away. My curveball is my best pitch. My changeup is my other best pitch.'"


We miss you Pedro!
   10. puck Posted: September 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4241040)
This guy didn't catch for 20 years. But his story is one of the reasons I grew up liking SI so much. This type of feature was what SI did so well in its day.

It doesn't still do it well?

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