The closer's job is gone for now. His teammates shake their heads about him. His own sensitivity and self-doubt seem almost physical, as if his 6'4", 225-pound frame somehow is smaller.
Who knows where he goes from here? Last Saturday, at least, it was back to the team's hotel in San Francisco, as the Orioles batted in the first inning against the Athletics. Though he can work out with the team, Benitez is not allowed in the dugout or clubhouse during games while under suspension. In black slacks, a white silk shirt and shades, Benitez, escorted by a security guard, walked out of Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. In a secured parking lot, a huge, fresh-from-the-factory super-stretch white limousine gleamed in the last hour of daylight. The familiar noise of the crowd drifted sweetly, like barbecue smoke, out of the big stadium. Benitez slipped into the monstrous vehicle and left. Alone.