The Closer

He's fallen off a third-story balcony, survived tuberculosis, and come back from four arm surgeries to lead the Oakland A's to the brink of post-season play. His name is Jason Isringhausen, and he IS the closer

Lawton hits a harmless grounder to second. And that's it.

The closer has recorded his 27th save of the season, and his first in three weeks, but he's not happy about the way it happened.

"Yeah, I can say I'm upset about it," he says, doing that boxers-on-without-taking-the-towel-off trick in front of his locker while he talks to reporters eager to measure his ire. "I don't know what their plans are. They said I was the closer, but look what happened. I just shake my head and go about my business."

In another corner of the clubhouse, the coach who is in charge of teaching the closer how to close will not give any of these comments a second thought: This is, after all, a closer talking.

"Very few of these guys are calm and composed," Peterson says. "I mean, these are the true warriors, these are the guys who want to lead the team, lead that mission up Bunker Hill. They're the first ones up Iwo Jima. Those are the closers. And there's no question that he's one of them.

"Everything about him says that."

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