IIATMS note: This is a repost of something originally posted on 12/4/08. I have decided to repost it due to its relevance given today's news. There's a similar article in SI.com on the subject out as well.
There's a worthwhile read today about Mark Teixeira. In short, he comes across as a calm, stone-cold assassin. And that's not meant as an insult. This is a guy with a plan, an approach, a sense of utter coolness. One of many differences between the successful Yankee teams of recent vintage and the successful RedSox teams is their personality.
Yanks have been called "corporate", "boring", "methodical". The Sox are "dirt dogs", "scrappy", fun-loving". Both are true yet both have their exceptions. And Teixeira would clearly fit snugly in the Yanks clubhouse as he has those same traits. Again, that's not a knock, it's just his personality.
Tex, as he is known, fits the profile of the modern superstar -- polished and savvy, mindful of his image as well as his OPS. He was switch-hitting in elementary school, was a member of the National Honor Society at Mount St. Joseph High in Baltimore, went to Georgia Tech and became an assistant player representative in only his second major league season. When he walks into the clubhouse, dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, the first thing he does is turn off his cellphone so he is not distracted and does not bother anyone else. He says he has a "plan for every day," which requires that he eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before each game and scarf down a Power Bar in the middle innings. "Some people would call me obsessive compulsive," Teixeira says, "but I take my job very seriously and my preparation very seriously. I am not the kind of guy who goes out at night and parties."If you ask me, I'd take a team of 10 of these guys. Boring assassins. Might not be as much fun as Manny leaving to take a leak in the Monster. More ARod than Manny. I want guys who are committed to themselves and their team first. I never want to question a player's committment. That's what makes Jeter "Jeter"; we know he's going to go all out every day. We don't have to wonder if Jeter will show up or not. We don't have to wonder if Jeter will beg his way out of the lineup.
Worried about his presence and "clutchness"?
When the Angels acquired Teixeira from Atlanta on July 29, they were 11 1/2 games up in the American League West, and some players worried that a new addition would upset clubhouse chemistry. To the contrary, Teixeira led the Angels in every major offensive category after the trade and they set a franchise record for wins (100), with Teixeira showing a free-swinging team how to work deep into counts.
At the All-Star break, the Angels ranked 29th in walks. In the second half they ranked 21st. "He was the perfect guy for their lineup," says Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn. The Angels lost to the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs, but not because of Teixeira. He batted .467 with a .550 on-base percentage in his first postseason series.