The Rays averted one crisis on Friday when ace and scheduled starting pitcher David Price finally arrived at the ballpark after a near two-hour and $202 taxi ride. Little did they know, however, that it would be far from the strangest incident they'd deal with.
During the late innings of their game against the A's, closer Fernando Rodney ventured into the Rays dugout bathroom before heading out to the bullpen to prepare for a possible appearance. It was supposed to be a quick trip to the john, and it turned into a 15 minute ordeal because Rodney somehow got himself locked in the bathroom.
It wasn't until one of the O.co Coliseum staff members busted the lock that Rodney was finally freed, and by that time the game had temporarily turned in Tampa's favor.
“It was a kind of a fun moment,” Joe Maddon said. “We kind of rallied then — we should have kept him in there. A lot of the commotion in the dugout in the eighth inning and part of the rally was someone beating on the door. Finally someone broke the door knob with a bat to get him out. I don’t even know who the hero was getting him out. I say he was in there a solid 15 minutes.”
Exactly the response you'd expect from Maddon. But what was going through Rodney's mind as his teammates rallied and he remained trapped?
“They got two runs when I was locked inside,” Rodney said. “They broke the lock. It was hot inside. I can only hear the crowd but can’t see game. So I don’t know what’s going on. I let them know and tried getting a key but couldn’t. I kept yelling, ‘Get me out!’”
As someone who has been locked in a bathroom before — I was seven, it happens — I can attest to how uncomfortable that experience can be. But in Rodney's case it certainly could have been worse. Much, much worse, in fact.
As for my advice on how to deal with it going forward. Simple. Don't lock the bathroom door again in public for the next five years and have someone you trust stand guard. And I emphasize that it has to be someone you completely trust. That means it probably couldn't be one of Rodney's teammates, and it certainly can't be Joe Maddon.
- Fernando Rodney