The opening guitar solo from Steely Dan's "Reelin' in the Years" had no business being as good as it is.
There was no real plan for it. As the story goes, most of the catchy-as-heck song was already done. But the band was having a hard time nailing the beginning.
So they called in session musician Elliott Randall, let him listen to what they had so far, and let instincts take over.
"They played it for me without much dialog about what I should play. It just wasn't necessary because we did it in one take and nothing was written," Randall said in an interview several years ago. "The whole solo just came to me, and I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to play it."
I had the song stuck in my head a couple months ago but didn't know the legend behind it until Kelly Dwyer pointed me in that direction.
It resurfaced Sunday night because I couldn't let go of this thought: Eddie Rosario plays baseball like Randall played that guitar sequence, and it probably explains why I can't shake either one of them.
Rosario is a soloist in a team game, a brighter light among bright lights. He's a man who sees a thing that's good and takes a chance on making it better even if it could also turn out to be bad.
Exhibit 1,000 in Rosario's career came Sunday. A four-hit game for Atlanta in the postseason, including a walk-off of the Dodgers for a 2-0 NLCS series lead. But more than that: tagging up from first base, down two runs, on a routine fly ball in the eighth inning ... and making it. He later scored and Atlanta tied the game before he won it an inning later.
Get thrown out there, as Patrick Reusse talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast, and he's a goat. Instead, he was the GOAT. Reusse even got a fantastic comment from former Twins manager (and great baserunner) Paul Molitor:
"Eddie's risk/reward computations are different than most," Molitor said. "No-blink player, and he came out smelling like a Rosie.''
No-blink player. We saw that from Rosario with the Twins countless times, including the postseason (5 for 16 with two homers against the Yankees in the playoffs). We saw it again down the stretch this season, when he posted a .903 OPS for Atlanta after being traded from Cleveland (and has now gone 9 for 22 in this postseason).
Before that trade, of course, Rosario had just a .685 OPS for Cleveland. His 2021 season was trending toward making the Twins look smart for letting a productive player walk instead of paying him.
But big moments, especially in September and October, are different. Sometimes you only get one take, and you need someone to nail it on that moment.
And in that moment, the metrics about throwing to the wrong base, swinging at pitches out of the zone or taking unnecessary chances on a short fly ball just don't matter.
Because the things that pass for knowledge, Eddie can't understand.