From Larry Brown Sports:
Jose Valverde’s unique bullpen entrance was on display for Game 1 of the ALDS between the Tigers and A’s on Saturday.
The Tigers closer recorded his first save of the postseason by preserving a 3-1 win, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Before he stepped onto the mound at Comerica Park, he did his usual quirky bullpen entrance.
The superstitious closer, nicknamed “Papa Grande,” which means big potato in Spanish, has a routine involving a bottle of water. Valverde takes a chug from a bottle of water when he gets the call in the bullpen to begin warming up. He then sets the bottle down beside him on the bullpen mound. The 6’4″ 254-pound reliever then takes another chug when he is called into the game, and he spits the water out — first to the left, then to the right — as he exits the pen.
What’s the story behind the routine?
“If I told you right now where that stuff comes from, you’d never understand,” Valverde said last October. “I’ve done all that stuff for a long, long, long time. I swear to God. I’ve been the same for almost 20 years.”
Valverde also has an elaborate save celebration that rivals his entrance:
As long as the three-time All-Star continues to save games successfully, the Tigers won’t mind his routines … and he’ll probably keep receiving kisses.
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