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This is the second installment of a two-part series…
The afternoon didn’t start on a positive note.
Alex Rodriguez, the polarizing all-star, was the first person I saw inside the clubhouse. He stood in front of his locker, in full uniform, scrolling through his phone. I had no plans to speak with A-Rod, never imagined he would be visible or accessible anyway.
Did I even want to talk to him? Seriously, I thought about it for a good five minutes before I convinced myself it would be worth a shot.
“Hey, Alex. Would you have a few minutes to chat?”
Failing to shift his attention from his phone, and in a monotone voice, A-Rod responded with, “I have to use the restroom.” And he sauntered to the can.
This sobering moment served as a reminder to stay focused on the primary task – I was in that room to talk with Derek Jeter. Now I had more time to soak in the atmosphere, find Jeter’s locker and jot down a few questions.
Businesses, when looking to engage the media or the public, also should stick to their primary objective. A convoluted message could confuse your audience as well as prevent you from generating an impactful statement.
Back to the Yankees clubhouse…
And then walked in a major distraction – Yogi Berra, flanked by Reggie Jackson.
“Excuse me, young man. I’m coming through,” Berra said to me through a smile as he lightly whacked my shins with his cane.
He and Reggie made their way into manager Joe Girardi’s office. My eyes followed Yogi’s every step – a living Yankees legend.
And then Jeter walked in.
He acknowledged a few reporters with a nod before he made his way to his locker. Not one reporter followed him. This surprised me.
So, I made my move.
I introduced myself and asked if he had a few minutes to talk. He turned, looked me in the eye and shook my hand. Then he said he had to skip out for a massage and wouldn’t be back for at least 20 or 30 minutes. He apologized and walked away.
Hey, at least he was polite about it. I could always try my luck the next day.
Well, now what? I talked with CC Sabathia, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson to pass the time.
The clock was ticking and the clubhouse was closing soon. I closed my notepad and slid my recorder into my pocket when I felt a hand on my right shoulder. It was Jeter.
“I have some time now, Craig, if you want to talk. Come to my locker.”
Jeter and I talked one-on-one for about 20 minutes.
I thanked him for his time, he extended his hand and said, “Thanks, it was nice to meet you.”
And that was that.
When you stick to the plan, good things usually follow.