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August 2008

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If I asked you who the best closer in baseball is right now, who would you say? You might be the kind of person who only looks at the number of saves, so Francisco Rodriguez would win hands down. I mean, look what he's done! Wow, he'll definitely break a major league record. Yeah he's good, but not the best... Okay, so maybe you're old-fashion. You respect the players who have always been dominant. You'd probably go with the 13-year veteran, Mariano Rivera. I mean, look at his rap sheet! Four World Series Championship rings, 1999 World Series MVP, and I could get going for days with all the awards and achievements his received! But not this year... Oh, so maybe you think I'm going for a recent WS champ? You might say Jonathon Papelbon. Hey, don't get me wrong. I love Jon-Bon, but he's definitely not the most dominant closer in this day and time. Of course there are closers like Wagner, Wood, Percival, Lidge, even Wilson that are good, yes, but not the best. Who else is there?! you may ask. I'll tell you. His name is Joseph Michael Nathan. It's reasonable to say that I'm a little opinionated on the issue considering that Nathan is not only on my favorite team, but also my second favorite baseball player ever. Joe Nathan has 35 saves in 38 chances so far this season; second in all the majors. And look at his ERA! It's 0.98! That's more than half a run less than the next closest closer in the conversation (Mariano Rivera, 1.57). Mr. K-Rod, with his 49 saves, has an ERA of 2.70 and 5 blown saves! He's accounted for two losses with the Angels so far this season, compared to Joe Nathan's 0 losses. Yes, I understand that Rodriguez has 14 more saves than Joe Nathan. But if Joe Nathan were put in K-Rod's shoes and had has many opportunities, I'm sure he'd have at least 49 saves if not more! And I'm not dissin' my Twins. The reason why they don't give Nathan as many chances as the Angels give K-Rod is because they always blow away they're opponents so Nathan doesn't get the chance to close. Oh yes, of course. But the whole point of this is that Joe Nathan is completely underrated. Yes, he's an All-Star so I guess he has technically been recognized for the great closer he is. But when someone says closer, I guarantee you that the first three people you think are Mariano River, Jonathon Papelbon, and Francisco Rodriguez. That's just not right.