He's never worn a Yankee uniform, but if Mariano Rivera speaks, we listen... and for good reason. It comes down to 1 word... HUSTLE... and it's Dustin Pedroia.
I know, I know, in Yankeeland it was almost obvious that Mariano Rivera was supposed to choose Robinson Cano. They both played together and both were Yankees and teammates. But did you ever think for a second that talent means more?
I’m going to get a lot of heat for this, but let me give it to you straight; While I've always loved Robinson Cano, I have always secretly coveted Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia is a gamer. The guy’s a pest and the guy is a champion and much like Mariano Rivera stated, it does come down to hustle after all. Quick, don't tell Peter Keating ESPN the Magazine who suggested that a talented athlete like Cano needed to pace himself. Remember that?
Sure, I get the argument... slightly, but are you really gonna tell that to a guy like Pete Rose? Paul Moliter? Joe DiMaggio? Cal Ripken Jr? Pace yourself? They'd laugh at Peter Keating and for the record... what I've stated about hustle was just confirmed by Mariano Rivera who PLAYED with Robinson Cano.
The New York Daily News wrote that Mariano said of Cano and Pedroia in his new book "The Closer":
"'This guy (Cano) has so much talent I don’t know where to start... There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber (player). It’s just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don’t think Robby burns to be the best... You don’t see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players'... As for his favorite second baseman, Rivera says Red Sox Dustin Pedroia is 'at the top of the list' of players he admires, adding: 'Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for twenty-seven outs. It’s a special thing to see.'"
Translation: "red-hot passion" is heart and hustle... just to keep you in the loop. And sure enough, it comes down to heart and HUSTLE Peter Keating of ESPN the Magazine. Hustle. The thing that separates one true athlete from the rest. If Mariano Rivera says it... trust me... it's law. (Read HUSTLE TO BE NUMBER 1... NOT 2.)
Look, there is no question that Robinson Cano has many good qualities. He's a great teammate from what I can tell, he loves the game of baseball and he has come up in many clutch situations for the Yankees in the past. But here's what I also know; He didn't love being a Yankee, because if he did, he would be one today. He didn't understand how easily a reputation could be tarnished, even though it's clear baseball is a business and him dashing wasn't the wrong thing to do... IT WAS THE WAY HE DID IT THAT DID HIM IN. And finally...I know this about Robinson Cano... he didn't hustle. If he did, it would complete him being a quality player in New York... for you.... for me and even for Mariano Rivera.
I tip my cap to Mo for making a point us here at BYB have been making for a few years now. Thanks.
Oh... and Mr. Keating... I'd still love to chat with you about you calling me the "cranky uncle (who) whines that baseball players don't hustle enough". I guess Mariano's a cranky uncle too... I guess I'm in good company.
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