In 2009, following a Tigers win at Tropicana Field, Fernando Rodney “celebrated” his save by firing the ball from the field into the stands. That ball went into the press box and “bounced near several working writers.”
We wrote about the incident in 2009 > “Fernando Rodney Fires Ball At Reporters, Jim Leyland Figures They Wanted A Souvenir“
And now Rodney will sign with the Rays today or tomorrow, pending his physical.
Rodney was eventually suspended for three games for the 2009 incident, and some in the Tigers organization believed at the time that the suspension was brought about in large part because of an email sent to the league office by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
[Tigers President Dave] Dombrowski said he was told a “very strong” influence for the suspension was a letter from St. Petersburg Times reporter Marc Topkin, president of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America…”I think a lot of it was driven by the letter that was written by the president of the association in Tampa,” Dombrowski said. “Afterwards, he didn’t think that Rodney was at all sorry or remorseful. … I know he was remorseful when I spoke to him. He was very, very sorry.”
Topkin at the time responded to the assertion that he was responsible for the suspension…
“[Topkin said the email] wasn’t intended to prompt punishment but to make sure they were aware of the incident. Even without the email, It wasn’t as if this would’ve gone unnoticed…I said in the email that he did not apologize afterward…nor did he show any remorse that somebody might’ve been hurt, which was a very real possibility…I’m surprised that the issue of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association talking with Major League Baseball is part of the story. Clearly, Fernando Rodney threw the ball into the press box. Clearly, Major League Baseball was concerned enough to suspend him.”
Will Rodney still be upset about this three years later? We don’t know. But some people would be. And you can be sure that it will be awkward.