With one incident after another, New York Yankees first-baseman Mark Teixeira is slowly but surely gaining a rep for nasty actions.
By Robby Sabo
He’s brash, loud and completely in your face. New York Yankees first-baseman Mark Teixeira has slowly but surely become all of these things in 2015, and quite frankly, it sounds as if he doesn’t give a damn.
While many might think this new-found attitude is something new for the slugging first-baseman, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it hasn’t been publicly displayed often, for years now there have been grumblings leaking out of the clubhouse about Teixeira’s salty ways. Oftentimes teammates would question his lack of team comradery and even went so far as to question his desire to play through injury.
Let’s not forget how oft-injured this guy has truly been. From 2011 to 2014 he missed a remarkable 225 games out of a possible 486. A serious wrist injury played the biggest factor in his very big absence.
This season couldn’t have gone any differently if Larry David himself were to write a script. The 35-year old bear of a cleanup-hitter has partaken in 103 of a possible 110 Yankees games, sending 30 Text-Messages over the wall and knocking in 77 runs.
Perhaps his new-found health and power is coming from a new mindset. One that has fans shaking in their boots when Big-Tex goes off.
Take the night of July 27 for example.
The Yankees were in Texas squaring off against the Rangers. With Teixeira rounding third-base on a hard-hit ball, third-base coach Joe Espada waved the big man to the plate. Instead of a walk-in run as Espada expected, Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin gunned him down.
Immediately after the play, Teixeria completely showed up his coach with visible frustration. It didn’t end there. He then proceeded to trash the Yankees dugout and do damage to a water cooler that had no dog in the fight.
Nope, not over.
During the postgame, Teixeira added these words for a nice little cherry on top, via George King III of the New York Post:
“He said, ‘Easy, easy’ twice,’’ said Teixeira, who was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Leonys Martin for the final out of the inning after fielding Chase Headley’s single. “That can’t happen. I can get hurt not expecting a play at the plate. That’s a big run. There are a lot of reasons that can’t happen. I love Joe Espada, he apologized and it’s over, but it was a big mistake.’’
Big run? The Yankees were up 6-2 at the time of the play. Get hurt? This is baseball Tex. The game Pete Rose played at 100 miles an hour every night out. The game New York City loves and adores to the point they anoint heroes based on hustle and a keen sense of an underdog mentality. Plays at the plate are what the game is all about in the eyes of many.
Instead of cooling down after the game and taking the high road – which most players would do – Teixeira blatantly decided to add more fuel to the fire and publicly out his coach.
If he’s attempting to be a leader, looking to fill the void left by No. 2, this was the exact opposite way to go about it.
Leaders back up teammates and coaches. They handle things behind closed doors and don’t make a fuss about a perceived error. They take the hit themselves so the guy standing by your side can understand somebody is there for them.
On this night, Teixeria displayed a bit of rage that Yankees fans haven’t seen of No. 25 yet.
Continuing the rage element of his game, yesterday in the Bronx brought another example to the table. In the Yankees 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Teixeira extended into the stands in attempt on a foul ball in the ninth-inning.
Admittedly, the fan was a bit too aggressive once he saw Tex didn’t make the catch. At the same time, Teixeria let the guy have it once it was over.
Mark Teixeira almost has hissy fit when fan tries to get the ball…gives him a shot! #yankees#bluejays#Teixeira pic.twitter.com/tAGQSGNhZQ
— Nicholas Prins (@nohouzecalls) August 9, 2015
In Teixeira’s defense his arm was caught in a vulnerable position, but was this type of reaction warranted? You’re a big-leaguer, and quite frankly, this “scared to death” fan probably had to run to the bathroom to clean up self-inflicted accident immediately afterwards.
Turnaround and go back to your position with the understanding that injuries are part of the game and unusual stuff happens at times.
Here’s Teixeira’s remarks after this incident, via Dan Martin of the New York Post:
“You can insult. You can’t assault. We know you are upset we lost three in a row. Keep it to insults.”…
As for Teixeira’s play, the first baseman said: “He ran into me. He really wanted that baseball. I’m all right, thank God.”
The man said “I’m all right, thank god.”
What’s painfully obvious is that Teixeria is now ultra sensitive to any situation that can jeopardize his health. This is the wrong mentality. Professional athletes need to play with the understanding that injuries are a part of things.
If you think you’re going to get hurt and try to avoid the possibility all together, you actually put yourself in harm’s way more often than not.
More importantly is Tex’s outpouring of rage and unprofessionalism that is coming by way of his sensitivities. Not only do we see these incidents playing out on the field, but he doesn’t hold back with his words following the game.
This is where he loses many people, because now, he his skirting that line of fiery competitor and downright villain. It’s a shame too because what this club needs right now is a leader after allowing the AL East lead get cut to 1.5.
To Teixeira though, it’s painfully obvious he doesn’t care. The next incident will push him past that line of skirting the issue into an all-out rageaholic.
The only question left is: when will it happen?
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