There's nothing more frustrating than an opposing closer being demonstrative about doing his job. Say, Fernando Rodney getting the third out, then miming pulling an arrow out of his quiver, nocking it, and firing. Infuriating, if it's against you. Yesterday, the Angels got the very best possible revenge.
With the Mariners bullpen depleted from playing 28 innings in the previous two days, Rodney came on to get a five-out save. After getting out of the eighth, Rodney went to his "arrow" celebration a little early. And Rodney, who pitched for the Angels from 2010-2011 and isn't particularly beloved in Anaheim, said it wasn't an accident. "I did it for the fans," he said. "When I came out, they booed me. I did that for them."
The problem with riling up the crowd before the game's over is that it can rile up the other team—and the Angels still had Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton coming up in the ninth. "He woke up our dugout," said Grant Green, who would eventually get the game-winning RBI single. "He did it at the wrong time."
Trout walked to lead off, and Pujols doubled him home to tie things up. And the arrows flew.
The great thing here is, judging from quotes from both sides after the game, everything was done in right spirit.
"That's his thing," Pujols said. "I've known Rodney for 15 years, so we go way back. Every time I see him, I tell him I'm going to do that to him if I get a big hit against him."
"It was spur of the moment," Trout said. "It's baseball. We're having fun. It was a pretty exciting inning."
No big deal, just some baseball players, competing but also having fun, taking good-natured, theatrical shots at each other to the delight of the fans. And no one's threatening beanballs or complaining about respect or invoking violations of the unwritten rules. What a concept.