a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive gait or manner.“The New York Yankees have attained 27 World Championships with an exaggerated swagger”
I only started really paying attention Brian McCann following his dust up with the Carlos Gomez. I watched him play on TV when I was visiting my sister-in-law in Atlanta and I heard the analyst say those magical words… “He’s going to be a free agent this fall.” Music to any Yankee fan’s ears. With what the Yankees put behind the plate last year, McCann would surely be in Brian Cashman’s cross-hairs. The Yankees have a history of putting leaders behind the plate and I saw nothing last year that resembled anything close to leadership. Two of the greatest leaders that I’ve ever seen in my short life happen to be the two-man team of General Colin Powell and the late General Norman Schwarzkopf. Together, these two men led US forces during the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) and pulled off one of the greatest military upsets in US military history. What they accomplished as a team not only benefited the citizens of Kuwait but it also put the rest of the world on notice… “We have arrived and we aren’t going anywhere.” Leaving politics out of it, because I love politicians as much as I love migraine headaches, both men showed how far you can go through teamwork and great leadership. My father was a Marine and he used to always say to me, “Just because a person can lead, doesn’t mean that they should!” The world is filled with self-promoted leaders, people who have laid out their padded career stats on resumes and who appear to be battle-tested. However, when you see them in action, they resemble nothing close to the person laid out on paper. There are many athletes who show a lot of bravado on the field or on the court and when you take a deeper look at them, you have a sense that most of it is an act or just flat out fake. While I like Kevin Garnett, I’m not completely convinced that he’s the psychopath that he portrays himself to be during his pre-game rituals. Tyler Hansbrough, James Harrison, Warren Sapp, Brian Wilson… Carlos Gomez, just to name a few. I’m not convinced that if I’m in a foxhole and needed one person next to me they’d be the one to deliver. Then you have those who leave little doubt… Steve Smith, CC Sabathia, Ray Lewis, Josh Beckett (yeah, the former Red Sox pitcher), Marshawn Lynch & Brian McCann.
New York is a special place and not many people understand New Yorkers and what makes us who we are. We’re probably the most over-analyzed, stereotyped and copy-catted residents of the United States. The funniest part about being from New York is that everybody assumes that you’re from the city when you say, “I’m from New York.” If you look at a map, the island of Manhattan is that little sliver of land directly northwest of the rest of the entire state of New York! (Just had to get that out.) No, all New Yorker’s are not from New York City, but, we all seem to have that ‘thing’ about us that most of the city residents have. The spirit, the drive and the attitude that we won’t let anyone tread on us or our opinions on any topic being discussed. What does this have to do with Brian McCann?
Brian McCann is about to become my favorite transplant New Yorker. He brings an apparent love for the game and a respect for how its played with him to the Bronx. I could hear it in his voice and see it in his face during his introductory press conference, when he spoke about how he loves going to the yard and just being able to play ball… doing his job that he loves. How since he was a young kid, he loved the game and always wanted to be as good at it as his brother was at it. I grew up loving the game of baseball more than any other sport and when you say this to a room of reporters, you know it’s a fact.
Carlos Gomez is a young player who appears to believe that baseball needs him and that his accomplishments are bigger than the game. I can only assume that he loves the game just as much as McCann, but, all he’s shown me as a fan so far is an example of how much more he loves himself. To his credit, he did use Twitter to apologize for his actions and for putting his own feelings before his team’s. He still has a lot to learn and a long path to that wisdom. The fact that he took took the time to actually apologize shows growth, even if embarrassment was the vehicle. We’re not perfect, we all make mistakes and I wish Carlos nothing but success. The more he grows as a man and a player, the more the game of baseball will use him to show up and coming players what’s most important.