Mariners P Rodney explains why he pitches with his hat tilted
For years, reliever Fernando Rodney has combined his hard throwing delivery with his unorthodox hat tilt to become one of baseball's more effective closers.
While the right-hander, who recently signed with Seattle, provides theatrics with his arrow pointing gesture after every save, it's the reasoning behind how he wears his hat that inspired questions from Bob Dutton of the News Tribune.
“That sometimes confuses the hitter, too, when it’s turned,” Rodney said. “The hitter looks for your eyes. It’s like a dog. When you go somewhere, the first thing (a dog) looks at is your eyes and how you move.
“If you move straight back, he (relaxes and) is OK. So I try that, sometimes, (with the hitter) to move quick (toward the plate). They think I’m not looking at them. They can’t see my face, sometimes.”
Deception is the name of the game for Rodney and that tilted hat isn't limited to throwing off those in the batter's box - it applies to those on the basepaths as well.
“When I put (the cap) like that,” he said, “the runner at first, sometimes I think they think I’m looking at them. They say, ‘Oh, he’s looking at me,’ and they stop (from taking a bigger lead)."