News & Media


Six Pack of Pop: Rhodes throws fast, and likes his cars that way

November 08, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Twenty-year baseball veteran appreciates physical aspect of NASCAR

Arthur Rhodes, a 20-year veteran of Major League Baseball who pitched last season for both the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals, answers this week's six questions.

1. You were spotted having a really good time at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. How many NASCAR races have you attended?

Rhodes: I've been to five events already. But this was the first time I was able to bring some of my friends and family with me to show them how it is. I've been in the pits and I'm just trying to show some of my friends and family, some of my boys, how friendly everyone is and what it's like. It's a good time. I got to sit on my first live bull, sit in my first [rodeo clown's] barrel. It was a good time.

"Most people don't get to see all this. Most people just go to the grandstand and just wait for the race. I got to sit on my first live bull, sit in my first [rodeo clown's] barrel. It was a good time."

--ARTHUR RHODES

2. What made you decide to come?

Rhodes: Most people don't get to see all this. Most people just go to the grandstand and just wait for the race. These people [in the Texas Motor Speedway pre-race infield], they're getting to see the whole deal. It's a first-class deal. I treat my family the right way. I told [officials at TMS] that I wanted to give [my family] the VIP service through the whole thing and that's what we got. Whatever I do on the baseball field, I try to use that to treat them the same way I'm treated when we do stuff off the field. And that's what we did. It was great.

If I look at my schedule, and I don't have anything going on, I will be in Phoenix [for the next race weekend].

3. Speaking of the live bull that you sat on during the wild pre-race party in the TMS No Limits Garage, what was that like?

Rhodes: When I first got in there and sat on the bull for a couple of seconds, he started trying to buck me right off. Then they gave me the how-to-sit-on-a-bull routine, and you know what? Even with that information, if they had turned it loose, I might be able to ride a bull for about two seconds and that would be it.

4. You pitched this last season for the two teams who faced each other in the World Series, and you were on the winning side with the Cardinals. What has that made this offseason like?

Rhodes: The feeling is amazing. I think everybody in Texas and everybody in St. Louis should look to Game 6 [of the World Series]. I know Texas should have won that game, but it didn't happen. We stuck in there for nine innings, then 11 innings. Our team played so hard and never gave up and that's why we won that game and then the Series.

This offseason is totally different than any of the others ones I've had. I know I made the All-Star team in 2010 [while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds], but this year is even more amazing. I go home [Rhodes is a native of Waco, Texas] and everyone wants to congratulate me and get my autograph. [At the race on Sunday], I got invited up on stage [before the race] and everyone was cheering -- even though I pitched in the Series for the Cardinals. The fans here are amazing. I didn't hear one boo. That's why I came to the race in Texas. I really enjoyed myself.

5. You got to take a pace-car ride prior to last Sunday's race. What was that experience like for you?

Rhodes: I know [pace-car driver] Brett Bodine. I know he's been a Cup driver and he's been driving a long time, so I trusted him. But I'll tell you right now: the right side of my head was stuck to the window [during the ride]. My stomach hurt. My back hurt. I tried to force myself to come back to the middle of the seat -- but he was driving so fast through some of those turns, I was stuck to the window and couldn't do it.

6. So you were a little out of your element, but how do you think some of us could do if we faced you in the batting cage?

Rhodes: My first thought is that if we go in the batting cage right now and I throw it 95 [miles per hour], I don't think you would ever touch the ball.