NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For years, Yankees fans demanded that frustrating third baseman Alex Rodriguez performs at the level he’s capable of.
In an interview with the New York Times, Rodriguez admitted that often-perceived quiet teammate Mariano Rivera would often chew him out and give him pep talks in an effort to motivate the highly-paid third baseman.
“You wouldn’t expect that from Mariano Rivera, getting in my face and saying: ‘What the hell? Come on, let’s go,’ ” Rodriguez told the New York Times in 2011. “But he’s like my brother, one of my best friends. It’s awesome. It’s priceless.”
A-Rod considers Rivera a great teammate, a friend, a leader and a brother. 2013 will be Rivera’s final go-around with the Bronx Bombers and A-Rod is thankful for the impact Rivera has made on his career.
“Equally as impressive as 600 is what he’s done in here for everyone as a leader — as my hitting coach, or getting on my butt for something, chewing me out. Whatever he’s done on the field, or however tough he is to face, is what a great leader he’s been to me and what a great teammate and friend,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez isn’t the only one who has been sent messages by Rivera. Curtis Granderson revealed that Rivera would often give him pointers throughout the season.
“He was telling me about things he wanted me to do to help the team,” Granderson recalled. “General stuff about how I could help the team, things I needed to do to help the lineup, things I needed to improve on. I was really appreciative that he would take the time. When Mariano talks, you listen.”
Rivera is hoping to make some more memories in his final season in the big leagues. He’s stated that he wants to go out with one more World Series ring.
In 2013, the Yankees better be motivated in Rivera’s final season, otherwise they’ll be hearing about it from number 42 himself.
Has Rivera’s leadership often overlooked during his glittering career? Share your thoughts below…