Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why The Yankees Need Texiera

There is no question that the New York Yankees signed Mark Texiera for his outstanding bat and his superb fielding skills. This is a quality player who has been very consistent over the years and shows no sign of being anything else for a long time. That, however, is not where the real value of Tex lies. In addition to being a gifted athlete, Texiera is the guy who shows us what giving 100% really means.

In last night's game against the New York Mets, the game was won by Mark Texiera. Not by A-Rod's pop-up nor Luis Catillo's ill-fated drop. One of the slowest guys on the team scores from first base on a shallow pop-up to the second baseman. There was a lot of ground to cover and by all means the routine play looked like a sure game ender to put the Yankees away. Like every kid is taught in little league, the play is not over until it's over and Texiera took a good jump off first and kept running, despite the 99.9% chance that A-Rod was making the final out. Not looking up from the baseline, Tex continued to hustle with his head down, running the bases just like every other time. When he approached third and saw Robby Thompson waving him home, he was surprised to say the least and the adrenaline kicked in as he sprinted toward and slid into home.

In contrast, Alex Rodriguez saw where his ball was going, concluded that he was going to be out and his team would lose and doggedly trotted to first after throwing and breaking his bat in frustration. In a game at Fenway a few nights ago, David Ortiz convinced himself that a deep fly ball was going to be caught and barely jogged to first when instead it was dropped, leaving Ortiz so far behind that he had to settle for a single instead of a sure double. I can't count the number of times over the year when guys didn't even bother running to first after a sure out, only to have the ball mis-played but then quickly thrown out because of their lack of running.

Mark Texiera has always been known as one of the good guys. A hard worker who keeps his nose clean and sets a good example for those around him. Teammates, take notice. Aspiring young baseball players, take notice. Anyone with a love of the game, take notice.

Rodriguez's own "I'm too good for this game" strut was a sad display compared to Texiera's "Giving it my all on every play" hustle. Thank you Mark Texiera for showing us what it really means to be a star and how this game is supposed to be played.

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