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The evolution of Fernando Rodney’s crooked cap

Big League Stew

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We know Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays can close a game. He had 48 saves last year.

We also know he doesn't seem to like wearing his cap straight. Wearing it cocked to the side has become Rodney's "thing."

He's pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and on Thursday night decided slightly crooked wasn't enough for the world's stage.

He nearly went sideways.

During the game, the angle of Rodney's cap became a hot (OK, warm. OK, tepid) topic on Twitter.

You know what, T-Jam? We were wondering the same thing. But we didn't just wonder. We did some Big League Stew sleuthing. Now, we proudly present to you, the evolution of Fernando Rodney's Crooked Cap.

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2004: Look how young, how facial hair-free, how happy Rodney looked. And the hat? Nothing the least bit noticeable about its angling.

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2005: Do you see it? There's a sliiiiight tilt. It's just sitting a tad bit sideways. An accident perhaps, or a sign of what was to come?

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2006: This might be the turning point (pun totally intended). The Gatorade cup on the hat triggered something. The electrolytes seeped into Rodney's brain, causing a mutation that would make it difficult to ever wear his hat straight again. Or maybe we've just been watching too much "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

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2007: Now we see it, the turning of the cap. The Fernando Rodney we know today, this is when he was born.

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2008: Much like a defiant puppy, here we see Rodney askewing the cap a bit further, seeing how much crookedness he can get away with.

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2009: Hold on a second! What's this? A straight hat again? (And a very David Ortiz look too). Did you know that in 2009 Rodney had 37 saves. At that point, it was the best season of his career. Coincidence? Correlation? Only the cap knows for sure.

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2010: A new team, a new color scheme, a new cap — but still straight. Perhaps Fernando was trying to keep the saves-a-comin', or maybe he wanted to make a good impression on his new team.

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2010 (A few months later): Off the wagon falls Rodney. Repeat: Off the wagon!

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2011: *sings* If your hat's crooked and you know it, clap your hands. Or just smile real big.

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2011 (a few months later): In case you're wondering, this is what Rodney looks like without a hat. Looks like a swell fellow.

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2012: He's fully embracing the crooked-hat life again. Frankly, America, he's not afraid to flaunt it either. And you know what? A career-high 48 saves in 2012. Maybe the crooked hat was the key all along.

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2013: During Thursday night's World Baseball Classic game, Rodney reached a new level of cap off-centeredness. It wasn't easy to do, but this was for his country. This was about pride.

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@CorkGaines

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FUTURE: Stewies from the future dispatched this. It shows Fernando Rodney five years from now, as his cap approaches full orbit around his head.

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(Getty Images, BLS Illustration)

To summarize: Fernando Rodney and his crooked cap are not unlike an alcoholic and his bottle. Things started off innocent enough, then started to get out of control. Rodney pulled himself together, but ultimately fell off the wagon and it all unraveled from there.

Spring training is here. Stretch out with us.
Follow @MikeOz and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page.

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