After roughly a decade and a half of Trevor Hoffman ruling their ‘pen, the San Diego Padres have a new closer. Everyone’s favorite Wii Fit user, Heath Bell, took the ball in the ninth inning last night with a 4-2 lead and shut the door on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Only 550 saves to go before he’s the club’s all-time leader.
As a life-long Padres fan, it’s certainly a strange feeling having a closer whose fastball sits between 93 and 98 mph. Bell came in last night and blew Matt Kemp away on a high fastball, walked Casey Blake, struck out Doug Mientkiewicz looking and struck out Rafael Furcal swinging. Striking out the side to end a game in (what I’m assuming will be) a rare win for the Friars is certainly the way to make the fans love you.
No one in San Diego is going to forget Trevor Hoffman any time soon, but if Bell throws strikes, gets outs and can finish games, no one will complain.
Bell clearly knows what he’s up against legacy-wise. After getting the final out last night he was far more animated than usual and greeted catcher Nick Hundley with a huge high-five and half man-hug. He had obviously been picturing that moment in his head ever since he was all but declared Hoffman’s succesor back in 2007.
So here’s a tip of the cap to Heath Bell, congrats buddy. Now keep striking people out and keep the weight off tubby.