One of the most glaring cases of over-playing one's hand is that of Mariano Rivera marching into spring training warning the Yankees that they better treat him with "respect" or he'll go elsewhere. Well, Mariano, "respect" from the Yankees for you may only come on Old Timer's Day after 2007 as Sport's Illustrated is reporting the Yankees are interested in Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) for the 2008 season. Oops, Mo.
This news surely must have reached Mo's agent by now with the impact of a cigar exploding in his face at a state funeral. Did either he or Mariano NOT see this as a possibility? At thirty eight years old, Mariano may have a few years left in him, but whose arm do you want more for around twelve million dollars a year? K-Rod is the person you throw big money at over four or five years. Mariano is the guy you keep at the current pay scale and offer a contract laden with incentives for reaching goals like, say...oh...going beyond the ALDS in the post season?
Don't get me wrong, this writer would love to Mariano hang around for a while and win a few more rings. But, when you threaten to leave the Yankees unless you get more respect (ahem, money) you are actually hijacking paying fans. That's something that ball players don't realize looking down on us lowly fans from atop of their "leather & lumber" towers.
Others ball players should take a lesson from this latest episode with Mariano and the Yankees. You are not irreplaceable. There was a time I thought I would never cheer for Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and a few others from the 1990's and 1980's. So, if one of my favorite Yankees decides that this writer and the rest of the Yankee fans out there aren't paying him enough, well, I'm sure that K-Rod has a favorite song that they can play over the loud-speakers at Yankee Stadium that will get the crowd cheering when he trots out to the mound.
Good luck in Boston, Flushing, or even Tampa, Mariano. Go cry on a big pile of cash.