Rick and Izzy

Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.


It’s October 11, 2001, and the Oakland A’s are playing the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the opening round of the American League Playoffs. Nearly 57,000 raucous fans are in attendance at Yankee Stadium, with a TV audience of 11 million.

Tim Hudson, the A’s starting pitcher, has been nothing less than brilliant. He’s staked the A’s to a 2–0 lead. But it’s the bottom of the 9th inning, and the situation for Oakland grows particularly nerve-racking. Hudson no longer pitches. On the mound, trying to finish the game, is the A’s closer, Jason “Izzy” Isringhausen.

Last season, in his first full season as a closer, Izzy made the American League All-Star ...

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