Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Closing Out the Nenth Inning

Now that errbody an' they momma has already said two things about the retirement of Robb Nen (and said it better than I could), I'll now add my superfluous additions.

We've been either spoiled, or blessed as Giants fans in regards to closers for a long time now -- take your pick. From Rod Beck to Robb Nen. Both seven letter names, the former choosing the 3-4 defense, while the latter likes the 4-3 defense. Macho names built for, oh, coming in near the end of baseball games and crushing the other team's hopes of mounting a comeback around 90% of the time, or something like that.

They both had character, too. Shooter (Beck) had that trademark handlebar 'stache, and that pendulum-like arm swing that seemed to say to hitters, "Watch this arm, for it will render you ineffective." Nen, I think, had his best look with that carpet goatee, and the arm that would be drenched in sweat after about four pitches. His arm would be saying, "You realize why I am drenched in sweat so soon, do you not? Throwing flame disguised as a baseball may have something to do with it." Of course, there was the toe-tap as well. Many have cited this as a timing mechanism, but personally I think it was an effort by Nen to take a few mph off his fastball, lest he unintentionally knock his catcher over with his velocity. The slider? Heh. To quote Kruk, "unfair".

Now, he has given up, the victim of pushing himself too far in an effort to give himself and his teammates a World Series ring. The Rockies didn't deserve him, anyway.

One more quote, this one from the band Sevendust:

"When I'm gone, don't fill the place that still belongs to me/when I'm gone, say hello for me
"When I'm gone, think about what all this does to me/when I'm gone, say hello for me"

Nen made quite a bit of money over the last two seasons while not making a single on-the-field contribution to the Giants. But I do not think there are many players that I would ever say this about -- he deserved all of it. If there was any possible way he could have been out there, any way at all -- he'd have done it.

Good luck in all of your future endeavors, Robb Nen.

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