In today’s MLB.com story about new Tigers closer Jose Valverde, he boasted that he could save 74 games this season and said of himself, “I’m the best on the mound.”
Clearly, he’s a guy who gets fired up, if this photo from his Diamondbacks days is any indication. So maybe he meant, “That’s what I tell myself when I go out to pitch, just to psyche myself up.” You know, like for self-motivation. And he wouldn’t be the first closer with a flair for the dramatic.
But when you start bragging about how good you are and how many games you’ll save, aren’t you going a little too far in the cocky department and setting yourself up to fail? I’m just wondering because Mo is so totally different from the above brand of closers.
Sure, he trots in to the high-energy “Enter Sandman,” but if he had chosen his own entrance music it would probably have been…no music at all. He knows he’s good, but he never beats anybody over the head with it. In fact, he shrugs off all the compliments and accolades and simply goes out there and does his job. Which is why Valverde’s comment got my attention. I read it and thought, Mo would never say that. I know. I know. I deify him every chance I get. I’m a broken record.
But he’s such an anomaly in the world of closers who thump their chests to show us how much heart they have. Please. We know you have heart or you wouldn’t have made it to the big leagues. Lots of players guarantee victories and shoot their mouths off. It’s part of sports these days. But Mo? He just collects saves – and World Series trophies. No words necessary.