There's a lot that goes into a Rafael Soriano save, and we're not talking just about the pitches he makes on the mound. He has a routine from the moment he starts warming up until he gets the final out, and he agreed to share some — though not all — of the details.
After Soriano warms up, he takes a drink of water and jogs onto the field. At home it's quite a production: Fuego blaring, a video (visioned by principal owner Stuart Sternberg) of a steelworker banging his anvil with a flame theme suggested by Soriano. "From the moment I leave the bullpen until I get to the mound I'm thinking about the three batters I'm going to face," he said.
A pause for reflection
Soriano steps off the mound to stare into his hat to read a message he has written that he says is religious in nature, but he won't say any more: "It has to do with my faith."
A message on the mound
Another very visible act that Soriano tries to keep private, he draws something in the dirt in the back of the mound: "It's personal, and I don't want to share."
After getting the final out, Soriano claps his hands, crosses himself, then raises his arms and looks skyward. "That's where I'm thanking God," he said.
The signature moment of a Soriano save comes when he yanks the bottom of his jersey out of his pants, a move he just started making this season, then gets on with the congratulatory hugs. "This is just something that comes out of me to do," he said. "The job is done. The job is done, I'm taking off the clothes."
Special thanks to Carmen Molina of the Rays staff for interpreting help.