How do you know that you’re a team’s closer? Is it when you’re consistently put in high-leverage, late-game situations? Is it when you start racking up the saves? Is it when the manager, I don’t know, literally names you the closer?
No, you’re not officially a closer until your team’s multimedia department rolls out an entrance video when you enter a ballgame. That’s how you know you’re really a closer.
When David Bednar was called upon on Saturday night against the Reds with two outs in the eighth inning, the Pirates debuted Bednar’s entrance video to complement the sounds of “Renegade” by Styx. This reporter, unfortunately, didn’t have the presence of mind to record the video, but here’s a clip of it from a fan who was at Saturday’s game.
“They absolutely crushed it,” Bednar said.
The video came to life through the efforts of director of story and production Sterling McLean and video producer Madison Mueller. Bednar didn’t have any creative demands, opting to trust the creative direction of McLean and Mueller. If anything, Bednar joked that he made their lives harder because he kept “cracking up.”
For Bednar, who is evolving into one of the game’s best relievers, the role of closer — and the accoutrement that comes with it — is well-deserved. Across 20 innings, Bednar has allowed just two runs (0.90 ERA) with 27 strikeouts. He’s a pristine 8-for-8 in save opportunities with four holds to boot. Barring any setbacks, Bednar has a strong case to represent the Pirates in Los Angeles at the Midsummer Classic.
The privilege of having his own entrance video is all the cooler given Bednar’s childhood connection to the team. Bednar’s story is plenty familiar by now, hailing from Mars, Pa., and growing up a Pirates fan. He vividly remembers closers of seasons past, such as Matt Capps and Jason Grilli. Now Bednar is carving out his own place in the lineage of Pirates closers.
It still hasn’t worn off, and I don’t think it ever will,” Bednar said. “I still have to pinch myself every day.”