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Francisco Rodriguez

Aug. 04, 2008
Aug. 04, 2008

Table of Contents
Aug. 4, 2008

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
BASEBALL
OLYMPIC BASKETBALL
SOCCER
  • First played in the 16th century, revived in 1930, an infernal, no-holds-barred version of soccer known as calcio fiorentino keeps the good citizens of Florence, Italy, battling and reveling

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Francisco Rodriguez

As told to Arash Markazi

ANGELS CLOSER

This is an article from the Aug. 4, 2008 issue

On pursuing BobbyThigpen's single-season record of 57 saves
I don't think about it. My goal this season was just to do better than lastyear when I saved 40. Maybe if I'm close in September I'll think about it. WhenI retire I want to be known as one of the top three closers ever.

On ditching hisgoggles last year
I wear contacts now and I'm comfortable. But my mom gives me a hard time. Shesaid Superman isn't Superman without his cape and I'm not Frankie without myglasses.

On his nickname,K-Rod
During the 2002 playoffs [when he struck out 28 in 18 2/3 innings] guys firststarted calling me K-Rod after games. It's a good nickname because you've gotto earn it, but I've got so many nicknames. They call me Pancho, or Frankie;back home they also call me Kid or Nene.

On being raisedamong 13 siblings by his grandparents in Caracas
I had a difficult childhood in a rough neighborhood, but I made the best of it.Every time I took a shower, 10 minutes later I was dirty again. I used to dancelike Michael Jackson. My first glove was a milk carton. I was the only one [onmy team] without a glove. It's difficult to think about where I am comparedwith where I came from.

On his violent,almost chaotic, delivery
I've been doing it since I was a kid—the motion came naturally. I was small andskinny, but I threw as hard as I did because of my delivery. I threw so hardthe kids in my league wouldn't play with me! I used to get sore shoulders, armsand elbows from twisting my body.

On being in thelast year of his contract
I don't know what will happen after the season at all—I mean at all. So I'm notgoing to say anything.

He had 43 saves through Sunday (best in the majors) andthe belief "that I can't be beat."
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE POWELL