Rays Closer Fernando Rodney a Practical Joker Who Plays Role of Ventriloquist, According to Joe Maddon

Fernando RodneyThe hat should have given it away.

Fernando Rodney is not only the man responsible for nailing down close ballgames in Tampa Bay. The owner of baseball’s crookedest cap is also quite the clubhouse comedian.

“Fernando, he’s a little bit of a practical joker,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday. “He likes to use different voices. He’s almost a little bit of a ventriloquist kind of a thing. That’s part of his sense of humor.”

While Maddon was quick to point out Rodney’s comedic tendencies, the skipper also admitted that the Rays closer is a calming presence who fits in perfectly with the rest of Tampa Bay’s cast of characters.

“When you see him within the clubhouse, very calm. Very calm human being. I love that about him,” Maddon said. “Even in the game when things don’t appear to be going well, he still for me presents a calm exterior at least. He’s very well-liked. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor. And as a competitor, I’ll take him with anybody I’ve ever had. This guy is highly competitive. When he’s on top of his game he’s among the best.

“But within our group of characters — and we have those in our clubhouse — he ranks way at the top based on he’s got a zest for life. He understands, he gets it. Right down to the hat being sideways as a tribute to his daddy. All that stuff, I really love about this guy.”

Rodney’s biggest contributions have been on the diamond. While 2013 hasn’t been Rodney’s best season, the right-hander did put together a historic 2012 campaign. Rodney had a minuscule 0.60 ERA in 74 2/3 innings over 65 appearances while saving 48 games last season.

That’s dominance in any voice.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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