The Character Assassination of Francisco Rodriguez
1.) It is disheartening and a sore spot when I hear Angels' fans bash one of the franchise's best closers - I don't claim to know K-Rod and maybe I tend to fall into the side where I plead ignorance to his basic intentions as far as enjoying personal success and helping his team win but the disrespect is galling for a guy who should be beloved as an elite closer.
2.) Despite the fact Angels' owner Arte Moreno seems to reward players with long-term contracts, where he has to overpay if he has to, fans suddenly want to lowball K-Rod - it is a self-fulfilling prophecy for a core of Angels' fans to see K-Rod fail, blow out his arm or just leave. Suddenly it is the Angels' goal to watch out and not cave in. They preach the sentiment that K-Rod is some sort of mercenary and will leave for greener pastures just because he can.
3.) A core of Angels' fans can't seem to tolerate or dismiss K-Rod's 'antics' as typical closer bravado - which closer in Major League Baseball doesn't have an edge to feed off from? A jerk of the neck, a twist, a symbolic gesture to state 'the game is over?' Why are Angels' fans dissatisfied with K-Rod? Maybe it is Tego Calderon's fault. Maybe if K-Rod had an entrance music fans can relate and chant to [like Guns and Rose's "Welcome to the Jungle," Metallica's "Enter Sandman" or "Hells Bells" from AC/DC], he'd be held in higher respect.
4.) Fans want Scot Shields to close in the worst way [to put it politely and in P.C. terms, wanting to see the 'fan favorite' to succeed [for whatever reason besides just pure performance] where they feel the guy they don't want is somehow not doing the job to their satisfaction syndrome] - Shields is the guy whose arm went dead and got a little nutty during a prolonged period of time in 2007. Love the guy's contributions, but he had a 7.36 ERA in the second half last year, including a 9.00 ERA in August. I know for a fact, there is a core of fans, who still want to annoint him the closer, while burying K-Rod's accomplisments. It isn't everyone else in the Angels' bullpen making up for K-Rod's supposed faults, it is the other way around.
5.) Wouldn't it be ironic if he did leave and saved 50 games for some contender like the Detroit Tigers - and help lead them to a World Series championship? Angels' fans just don't know how good they have it.