Writer's complaint may have magnified Rodney's suspension
Marc Topkin is a sportswriter who covers the Tampa Bay Rays for the St. Petersburg Times. Topkin is a fine writer and friend of mind. He is also the chairman of the Tampa chapter of the Baseball Writers Association.
It was in the latter capacity that Topkin complained in writing to the baseball commissioners office after Fernando Rodney, in frustration, flung a ball into the press box after securing the final out of the Tigers victory over the Rays last Friday night.
And Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski believes Topkins letter influenced the decision by Bob Watson, major league baseballs disciplinarian, to suspend Rodney for three games, in addition to imposing a fine.
Without the letter being written, the suspension would not have been as strong, and I dont know there would have been a suspension, Dombrowski told reporters traveling with the team.
That suspension could yet prove costly to the Tigers in their quest for the American League Central title.
Rodney is appealing the suspension. Until that appeal is heard, Rodney is free to pitch. His hearing could happen next week.
If the sentence is upheld, Rodney will then have to begin serving his suspension immediately -- at the worst possible time.
Beginning Friday, Sept. 18, the Tigers will play 13 or their final 16 games against the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox, their two challengers in the Central Division.
That is one throw that Rodney definitely wishes he could take back.