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Putting the Me in Mean

Bob Klapisch recently visited Alex Rodriguez in Miami and was invited to join the Yankee third baseman’s morning work out routine. Needless to say, Klapisch was left gasping for air, and impressed with Rodriguez’s drive. Further, he writes that, like Giambi, Rodriguez has a need to be liked. But, in a meeting with George Steinbrenner last week, Rodriguez was encouraged to worry less about being accepted in the Yankee clubhouse and concentrate on developing an edge, a mean-streak:

Steinbrenner told Rodriguez it was no longer necessary to defer to Jeter. Even though he rarely ventures into the clubhouse anymore, The Boss nevertheless zeroed in on the Jeter-A-Rod dynamic: It’s Rodriguez who has sought Jeter’s approval, not the other way around.

…”This is still Jeter’s team because he’s the captain, but my approach is not to be everyone’s best friend,” Rodriguez said. “My approach is to win championships. The only way to do that is to be myself, and to take care of my world. With my talent people will follow naturally.”

Watching the Yankees last year, it was obvious that Rodriguez deferred to Derek Jeter. While Jeter is the captain and a Yankee icon, Rodriguez is the superior player. If he needs to channel the inner-Reggie in him to play his best ball, so be it. It’d be sure to make the newspapers happy, but if winning is really the only important thing in Yankeeland, the end result will most likely make Yankee fans pleased too.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver