Joel Peralta is a real-life Eddie Harris. The 37-year-old Dominican might have more pitching tricks than anyone this side of the Major League character, most of them legal, one of them illegal.
Peralta didn't make his minor league debut until he was 24. He appeared in 300 minor league games over the next decade, spending parts of seven different seasons at Triple-A. Peralta bounced around from the Angels' system to the Royals, then to the Rockies, finding only fleeting success. Playing for the Nationals in 2010, he posted some of the best numbers of his career, with a strikeout-to-walk rate of better than 5-to-1 and career bests in ERA (2.02) and FIP (3.02). Signed by the Rays the following offseason, he's found a more lasting home in Tampa Bay, emerging as the team's go-to eighth-inning guy and one of the most effective setup men in the league. Though his bag of tricks might rival ol’ Eddie's, Peralta's a uniter and not a divider in the clubhouse, described by teammates as a bridge between different cliques rather than an antagonizer of Jobu worshippers.
I sat down with Peralta before a recent game at Coors Field to ask about his evolution as a pitcher, his old-school techniques for fooling hitters, and how confidence has played a role in his success.
YEAOWWWWWW. It's not funny, guys. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta tried to give it the extra 2 percent while getting out of his car to grab some sandwiches; instead he got himself a pain in the neck. Based on the dogged reporting of Tampa Bay Times writer Marc Topkin, who chased this story down to the last bite, Peralta, despite the injuries and emotional trauma sustained, ate his sandwiches. And they were "good."
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
LeBron James is a remorseless assassin, his own secret society, the ultimate trump card, the French connection and the Spanish main, a beautiful mind, the spirit of the eagle, a healer of souls, a printer of money, the first banana republic, the last crusade, a certified doctor of mojo, an honorary doctor of funk, and an honest-to-god NBA champion. And that's all I have to say about that.
Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected Tuesday night for having pine tar on his glove in the eighth inning of a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals. Peralta played for the Nationals in 2010, and also for the Syracuse Chiefs (the team's Triple-A affiliate) earlier that year when Nats first base coach Trent Jewett was the manager. Davey Johnson initiated the inquiry with home plate umpire Tim Tschida, who looked at the glove, found the pine tar, and made the ejection. Peralta, caught red-handed, tipped his cap to the Nationals as he walked off the field. Judging by precedent and the rulebook, he'll likely be suspended for 10 games.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
LeBron James scored 26 points and the Heat overcame Russell Westbrook's 43 points to beat the Thunder 104-98 and take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. James hit two huge baskets late in the fourth quarter after suffering thigh cramps that sidelined him for part of the game. Afterward, James seemed to realize the magnitude of what he'd accomplished. "Hey, remember when Michael Jordan had that one game where he played with the flu?" he asked. "Neither do I. It doesn't exist anymore. And if you ever mention it again, neither will you."