The New Closers Have Arrived (Les Nouveax Releveurs Sont Arrivés)

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New closers are popping up everywhere! On Opening Day, two dudes got their first saves in their new roles: Kevin Gregg in his first appearance as a Cubbie and Chad Qualls who got promoted in the offseason to the Diamondbacks closer. Last night, three other fellas had their coming-out parties:

bradziegler.jpg

Brad Ziegler was to share closer duties with teammate Joey Devine in 2009 but with Devine's chronic elbow problems turning him into a creampuff, Ziegler has the job to himself. Brad's the submarining dude who started his ML career with 39 consecutive scoreless innings last year, and last night he saved the A's win over the Angels by striking out Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter on seven pitches, including three nasty curveballs.

He's not new to the game of closing per say. Ziegler took over from Huston Street towards the end of last season and recorded eleven saves, but that was when the A's were already out of contention. April is the cruelest month for closers; blow a few now and you'll be put out to pasture faster than you can say "Dennis Eckersley isn't walking through that door".

Speaking of Huston Street, he's caught on as the new closer for the Rockies since being traded for Matt Holliday in the wintertime. He beat out Manny Corpas despite having a 5.23 springtime ERA; get ready for some fun-time, Rockies fans! Huston Street plus Coors Field plus razor-thin leads can't possibly end badly. No matter, last night he saved Ubaldo Jimenez' stellar start by retiring the heart of the D-Backs order in the ninth.

New Padres closer Heath Bell had perhaps the most difficult assignment last night. No, not saving the game. The Padres are going nowhere fast this year and could afford to tank a bit and improve their draft pick in 2010. No, Bell's biggest challenge was to pick a nifty tune to replace San Diego legend Trevor Hoffman's oeuvre "Hell's Bells" as his entrance music. Which actually kinda sucks, because a guy named Heath Bell should totally be allowed to use "Hell's Bells" as his song. Instead, Bell went with the Breaking Benjamin ditty "Blow Me Away" which I assume is a tacky nu-metal jawn....and yes, yes it is. (Thanks, Stew!).

If I were a major league closer, (a) I'd lose my job in less than 45 seconds and (b) I'd choose "Wall of Death" by Richard Thompson because that song totally rules.

(Nifty Brad Ziegler photo obtained through a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Kimberly)


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11 Comments

A: WOOO Ziegler! He's from my alma mater so you know, we're like best friends.

B: My closer song would be "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" by Against Me!

Any closer that wants to strike fear into the batters should go with "Blood and Thunder" by Mastodon.

OH YEAH

My closer song would be "You Suck" or "Shitstorm" by Strapping Young Lad. Wouldn't it rule to see a closer charge out of the bullpen to some over-the-top speed metal? I think so.

IF I WAS A CLOSER I WOULD WALK OUT TO THIS BECAUSE OH MY GOODNESS ITS EVERYTHING ABOUT ME PUT TO A NASTY GUITAR RHYTHM NO SERIOUSLY SIT THROUGH THE WHOEL THING AND YOUL BE FEELIN FINE LIKE I DO ALL THE TIME

RHYME-TIME

Chipper, you realize you're allowed to have at-bat music, right? And you can probably choose five different songs per game if you were so inclined.

Chipper, you realize you're allowed to have at-bat music, right? And you can probably choose five different songs per game if you were so inclined.

Assuming he doesn't creampuff out of the lineup after his second AB.

Who needs 5 songs per game when you can use Crazy Train for all 5. Although he does switch it up occasionally with Lil Jon's version (seriously.)

@CHIPPER
That video puts me on stereotype overload.

Something tells me that Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothin to Fuk Wit might not be family-friendly enough for most major league stadiums, so maybe Witchcraft would work. Although that song is about a crazy chick, so I might lose my street cred. Plus I don't think a closer's entrance music can feature jazz flute.

FRUIT BAT YOU REALIZE YOURE ALLOWED TO WEAR SHIRTS FROM THE MENS DEPARTMENT RIGHT OK NOW THAT I ZINGED YOU BACK YOU LET ME LIVE MY DREAM AND ILL LET YOU LIVE YOURS

ALSO I WALK OUT TO CRAZY TRAIN IN HONOR OF MY MAIN DUDE STEVE AVERY THAT WAS HIS JAM BACK IN THE DAY SO HE USED TO SAY IF I HAD MY REAL CHOICE I WOULD WALK OUT TO FREE BIRD SEE I EVEN DO IT IN SPRING TRAINING TO PROVE MY POINT

Steve Trachsel would come out to the Live at the Fox Theater version "Freebird"

I would come out to "I've Had the Time of My Life", from Dirty Dancing.

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