Rockies closer Manny Corpas is cool beyond his 24 years on the mound, but he's a young mall rat away from the park.
"I'm always at the mall," Corpas said through Joe Diaz, the assistant equipment manager who does Spanish-English translations. "I love going to the mall."
Asked if he's a junkie for clothes or electronics or some other item, Corpas said, "I buy everything. I don't even remember the coolest thing I've bought at a mall."
Traveling with the Rockies gives Corpas a chance to visit the best malls in Major League cities, but according to him, the best shopping is in Triple-A.
"There's a mall in Las Vegas," he said. "I don't remember the name of it, but it's really big. And there's the Tucson Mall."
Corpas, who watches Spanish-language television and is a fan of the rapper Daddy Yankee, said he never dreamt of anything but playing baseball. Sometimes that caused some grief at home with his parents, Florencia and Manuel (he is Manuel Jr.), who works at a brewery in Panama and was a standout softball player.
"I had a lot of problems with my mom because I didn't like school very much," Corpas said with a sheepish smile.
But Corpas has a master's degree in shopping. And his success during the second half of this season has meant he is being recognized at malls in Denver. He says he doesn't mind fans approaching him.
From the day he signed with the Rockies at age 16, Corpas has dreamed of following Mariano Rivera's success.
However, when the Rockies swept the Yankees in three games at Coors Field this season, Corpas said he was too nervous to step over and meet Rivera.
Maybe if they happen to shop in the same place ...
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.