The Most Unique New York Yankee

From 2013....

Yankee fans now get to focus on the most unique player on their roster.  In fact, he's one of the most unique in all of baseball.

I'm talking, of course, about backup outfielder Matt Diaz.

When left fielder Curtis Granderson broke his arm last week, the Yankees were suddenly in need of an outfield solution for the next three months.  The reaction of most backup ballplayers would have been, "Awesome, I'm finally gonna get a shot!"

Matt Diaz?  His way of processing the news was to get down on a knee with his son and pray for Granderson's quick recovery.  Now that is amazing!  That is Matt Diaz.

I got to know Matt Diaz in 1999, when he joined the Hudson Valley Renegades after his Florida State Seminoles were nipped by a run in the College World Series finals against Miami.  Diaz had made the all-tournament team, and immediately joined the team on the road to begin his professional career.  He showed up lugging four or five extra bags after travelling straight from Omaha.

"Some players watched me on TV during the World Series," he joked that day.  "But they said they're not impressed."  Diaz quickly became one of the guys.

Matt Diaz, pronounced DYE-az, was clearly unique, even fourteen years ago.  Within two minutes you could feel his sense of faith and the solid foundation it provided in his life.  As I detail in the book that chronicles that entire season, he was humble and mature beyond his years.  Along with Josh Hamilton and Jorge Cantu, Diaz helped the Renegades win the NYPL Title that season.

Aside from his faith, the thing Yankee fans will grasp immediately about Diaz is his 100%, all-out hustle.  He'll never loaf to first base, never lollygag to back up a base.  He was always solid, but never a sure-fire, can't miss big leaguer.  His effort - every day - has made the difference.  Diaz is all-out, all the time, a David Eckstein-type of player. 

Diaz may win the starting left field job, or he may lose out to Juan Rivera.  Regardless, this is a unique type of player and person.  I'm sure Yankee fans will take notice.
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