Big League Stew

Pudge Rodriguez’s unique first pitch (VIDEO)

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Rather than do the "hang around by the phone and wait" routine that so many aging ballplayers have recently opted for, Ivan Rodriguez cut straight to the chase. The 21-year veteran catcher officially announced his retirement at Rangers Ballpark on Monday and then rode off in the sunset with a "first pitch" that ranks a lot better than being gradually forgotten about. The only thing missing was a symbolic runner being gunned down for the 661 times he caught someone stealing.

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Rodriguez says he'll be looking for ways to stay in the game and I don't think that comes as too much of a surprise. You don't play a record 2,427 games behind the plate without giving off the strong impression that you're addicted to the sport of baseball.  Nolan Ryan and the Rangers, for their part, are already saying they want him involved in the organization.

What will be interesting to see, though, is if Pudge decides to opt for the easier role of a spring training guru or if he decides to chase a coaching or managing gig. Catchers are always considered prime candidates for managerial positions and there have been few who played the position better. It's not hard to see him becoming a bench coach one day and then maybe even more after that.

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