Last night the best closer in Major League Baseball history tore his ACL and his career is now in jeopardy. New York Yankee Mariano Rivera injured his knee while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City. Baseball fans may never see another closer quite like Rivera. Rivera had a combination of dominance and longevity that is un-parallel to any other. The 42 year old is an 18 year veteran, where he spent every season as a New York Yankee. In his long career “The Sandman” has recorded 608 saves, which ranks him #1 all time. Although we will never see another closer like Rivera we will continue to see entertaining entrances by various closers out of the bullpen. Almost every closer has intent to strike fear into opposing hitters. Closers begin this process of striking fear prior to even stepping on the mound and throw their first pitch. Here are some of my favorite bullpen entrances.
Jonathan Papelbon (with the Red Sox): Before toeing the rubber Papelbon entered to a song by the Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up to Boston”. Like most players entering from the bullpen he begins with a walk on the outfield warning track. What “Pap” does differently is he exchanges a fist pound with a Boston Police officer, than begins his trot to the mound. I love this entrance because the crowd becomes electric and everyone at Fenway Park knows the end is near now that Papelbon is there to save the game.
Todd Coffey: Todd Coffey only has 11 career saves but I can’t get enough of the way he gets from the bullpen to the bump. Coffey sprints from the bullpen to the mound as the jumbotron records how fast he gets from point A, to point B. Check out Coffey’s entrance below, hysterical.
Jose Valverde: Valverde is a character. Detroit Tigers closer is either not all there or… well I don’t think he is all there. Back in 2007 I was watching a Arizona Diamondbacks game where Valverde was called upon to close the final inning. Valverde ran from the bullpen all the way to the infield grass before knowing he ran all that distance without his baseball cap, his teammates got a kick out of it. Valverde has always been animated while on the mound, since joining the Tigers he has changed up his entrance. Before leaving the bullpen he takes a swig of water. As he steps out of the ‘pen he spits to his left, spits to his right, performs a high leg kick and begins his trot. He runs the entire distance with his cap in his right hand. Who enters to the theme song “I Can Transfform You”?
Mariano Rivera: Most people would consider Mariano Rivera’s entrance from the bullpen normal. Rivera does a traditional jog from the centerfield bullpen area with his glove in his throwing hand. Mo enters to the theme song “Sandman” and Yankee Stadium erupts. His success over the years has made this entrance great because fear is brought to opposing hitter even if Rivera came out to silence.
Heath Bell: Much like Todd Coffey, Bell sprints from the bullpen to the mound he just doesn’t get timed on the jumbotron. In the 2011 All-Star Game Bell sprints from right field to the mound and performs a text book pop up slide on the infield grass, check it out.
-Conner Patch @connerpatch68