Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012
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.
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