The Yankees' first baseman is not a fan of players dressing up for photo shoots. He's hit three HRs in his first three games after the All-Star Break.
DAN PATRICK:How much do you guys talk about other sports in the clubhouse?
MARK TEIXEIRA: It depends on how much time we have before the game. Some days we're there for four or five hours and have nothing else to talk about.
DP:Has a nonbaseball story ever taken over?
MT: We talked about Michael Jackson dying every day for a month. We put his music on the clubhouse stereo for a month straight.
DP:Who controls the music in the clubhouse?
MT: Everyone says the [starting] pitcher has the final say. In our clubhouse it's Nick Swisher.
DP:Isn't he into heavy metal?
MT: He listens to everything from rap to heavy metal to country. He's an interesting bird.
DP:Does Jeter have veto power?
MT: He has veto power over everything. But he doesn't use it that often. The music isn't such a big thing that he cares to use his power.
DP:Will anyone put on Mariah Carey to give Jeter a shot?
MT: Not too much Mariah Carey is played. The fun thing about Derek is he's getting up there. We try to have fun with him—kind of like you would with your older brother or even your dad.
DP:How can you make fun of Jeter?
MT: He loves it. Most people think Derek is this very square leader guy. He has fun too. That's the beauty of our team. Everyone thinks that we're a bunch of stiffs who play for the Yankees. We have as much fun as anybody.
DP:Do you guys give A-Rod grief? How about when he was in the newspaper getting a tan in Central Park?
MT: If someone is in the paper or a magazine and doing something out of character, you better believe we're cutting it out and putting it all over the clubhouse. We have a wall outside our weight room for fashion.
DP:What else is on that wall? Does it include women whom players have been linked to?
MT: It's strictly when guys do photo shoots or they style it up. We're ballplayers. We're dirty. We stink. If you get dressed up, put on some makeup and a nice suit, you better believe you're going to hear it from us.
DP:Have you ever watched one of your home runs too long at the plate?
MT: I don't think I have. I believe if you're going to do it again, it's not that big a deal. Seems to me that the guys who watch the ball too long are guys who've hit five or 10 in their careers.
DP:Ever say anything to the pitcher after a homer?
MT: Nope, never have. The pitcher's going to strike me out a lot more often than I'm going to hit a home run off him. He doesn't dance around the mound whenever he strikes me out.
DP:Guaranteeing a World Series this year?
DP:Is it a disappointment if you don't win the World Series?
MT: If you're a Yankees fan and we don't win the World Series, it's the end of the world. I'd never have it any other way.
"Everybody sees me and gets something different. Some people think sexy. Some people think determined. Some people think feisty. Some people think crap, probably. That's what makes this world interesting."
—DANICA PATRICK, NATIONWIDE SERIES DRIVER, ON THE MANY LABELS SHE'S BEEN GIVEN DURING HER CAREER
I asked Red Sox manager and former Mets skipper Bobby Valentine if he'd rather deal with the Boston or the New York media. "Neither," Valentine said. "I'd live in a nice little vacuum and play the game and not have to deal with people who have to either describe what happened or make up something about what they wish they saw." ... Cavs coach Byron Scott says Steve Nash's defensive shortcomings won't change anything in Los Angeles. "The Lakers have always been a pretty bad defensive pick-and-roll team," Scott told me. "It doesn't matter who they have at point guard." ... MLB Network analyst John Smoltz is fed up with teams' limiting pitch counts—especially in the minors. "They don't give these guys enough time to figure out what kind of pitcher they are," Smoltz told me. "Then we wonder why they aren't the pitcher they need to be when they get to the big league level." ... Swimmer Dara Torres just missed the Olympic cut at age 45, and understood why even at 27, Michael Phelps decided to race one less event than he did in Beijing: "He's four years older and realizing that what he did in 2008 was unbelievable, but it's tougher as you get older."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (VALENTINE)
BILL FRAKES (SCOTT)
DAVID GOLDMAN/AP (SMOLTZ)
ROBERT BECK (TORRES)
ERICK W. RASCO (TEIXEIRA)