Catching Nolan Ryan and Shohei Ohtani: Iván Rodriguez joins’ Flippin ‘Bats’
Legend. Icon. Hall of fame.
These are just a few of the appropriate terms to describe Iván “Pudge” Rodriguez, who stopped “Flippin ‘bats with Ben verlander“this week to discuss his tremendous career as a MLB wide receiver.
Rodriguez has been 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove and World Series champion.
In 1999, he made history by becoming the first wide receiver since Johnny Bench in 1979 to be named MVP, winning the American League award. The two backstops shared a privileged moment during the awards ceremony.
“It means a lot because it [Bench] was my favorite player growing up, ”said Rodriguez. “To be able to do so, he was present at the ceremony to give me the prize. It was an amazing feeling for me, and I remember telling him you were my hero. ”
Pudge Rodriguez sits down with Ben Verlander and talks about the emotions he felt after winning the MVP title as a receiver. Pudge mentions how much Johnny Bench, the only other receiver to win the MVP title at the time, meant to him.
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But before winning awards and being recognized as one of MLB’s greatest players, Rodriguez was a wide-eyed 19-year-old on the Rangers catching one of the franchise’s most iconic players: Nolan. Ryan.
“It was a great moment: the second game of my career, I caught Nolan Ryan,” he said. “When the match started, I was obviously nervous to catch a Hall of Famer. You talk about a man who could be my father. I was 19. Nolan was 45, 46 at the time.”
Pudge Rodriguez sits down with Ben Verlander to discuss the capture of Nolan Ryan and the infamous Robin Ventura / Nolan Ryan fight. Pudge went on to talk about the importance he placed on defense.
Notably, Rodriguez was also in attendance for one of the biggest brawls in MLB history between Ryan and Robin Ventura.
“I was a little in shock,” Rodriguez said of the moment. “It basically had to happen. Robin did something to drive Nolan crazy when we played Chicago the series before. He slipped really hard on second base and injured one of the guys we had. occur. “
Two important turning points in Rodriguez’s career came when he signed a one-year, $ 10 million contract with the Marlins in 2003, the team he went on to win the World Series with, and when, after that season, he surprised the sport by signing a four-year, $ 40 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers were 43-119 in 2003, but Rodriguez saw potential in their roster.
“I was going to Detroit because it’s the team I loved,” he said. “A young team, a good pitcher, a pitching staff that needed someone like me behind the plate, using my experiences as a catcher. I think that’s what the Tigers pitching staff needed. at this moment.”
By 2006, the Tigers had completed their turnaround, winning the AL pennant to appear in the World Series.
“It was great because it was really a team effort,” said Rodriguez.
Pudge Rodriguez talks to Ben Verlander about his reasons for joining the Detroit Tigers, just after winning the World Series with the Miami Marlins.
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Rodriguez has garnered many individual accolades throughout his career, but he’s also been instrumental in career highlights for a few pitchers by catching their non-hitters. In a season in which an MLB record was broken, the Hall of Fame spoke about the importance of the catcher in accomplishing that feat.
“The receiver is pretty much involved in the majority,” he said. “We get to the stadium early and we read some reports, go to the video and write our own report. From there we go to the pitching coach, and the pitching coach would do the same job that I would do for the game. Then we just put it together to show it to the pitcher before the game.
“When we’re in the game and working on a no-hitting goal, it’s basically something you don’t pay too much attention to. We’re just calling it a good game.”
Pudge Rodriguez breaks the relationship a pitcher and catcher have in a no-hitting game.
Even with so many dominant pitcher performances this season, one name stands out from Rodriguez as the pitcher he wishes he could catch: Shohei Ohtani.
“I just want to see what his throws from behind the plate look like,” he said. “The divider that he throws, for me, that I’ve never seen. When you throw a divider like that and you almost break a foot, at 93 miles an hour, I just wanted to see that behind the plate. , how it moves. “
Hall of Fame member and former wide receiver Iván Rodriguez explains why of all the current MLB pitchers he would want to catch Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani’s season as a pitcher is over with the Angels out of the playoffs. He finished 9-2 as a starter with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
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For more on Iván Rodriguez and Ben Verlander, watch the full episode of “Flippin ‘Bats” below:
Ben verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and host of the “Flippin ‘batsPodcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before joining his brother, Justin, in Detroit as the Tigers’ 14th round pick in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers. organization. Follow him on twitter @ Verly32.
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