Right Field

Plantain Power at the WBC

Fernando Rodney had quite a comeback season in 2012, and closing for the Dominican Republic’s squad in the World Baseball Classic this spring, he has been nearly unhittable. Last night, the birthday boy — the Rays’ reliever turned 36 — notched his sixth save of the tournament in a 4–1 semifinal victory over Curaçao the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Apparently, Rodney believes that plantains are at least partially responsible for his still-dominant fastball and wants everybody to know. And what better way from him to show off the lucky plantain than by having it, er, poke out of his pants during the game? (The protuberance is clearly visible below.)

Meanwhile, Rays skipper Joe Maddon is not all that amused at the frequency with which the D.R.’s manager, Yankees’ bench coach Tony Peña, is using Rodney. 

The problem is that Rodney is also Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon’s closer, and Maddon isn’t too keen on Rodney pitching so much.

“You’re pitching at such a high level, the way the Dominicans are dealing with this, it’s almost like a playoff situation so there’s a lot of amperage going on there,” Maddon told reporters Sunday. “We’ll see how this all plays out. . . . There’s going to be some kind of ‘woof’ after this whole thing’s over.”

Rodney and his Dominican teammates face off against Puerto Rico for all the marbles tonight at 9 p.m. EDT on MLB Network.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.


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