On his first visit to New York City, AJ McCarron was taken aback by the snow, the tall buildings and the tendency of cars, as he said, "to speed up when they see the yellow.'' But the Heisman Trophy finalist already shared one thing with many New Yorkers -- an affinity for the Yankees.
A couple of weeks ago, before Alabama faced Auburn, McCarron received a telephone call from controversial third baseman Alex Rodriguez that was set up by a member of the Alabama athletic staff. The PED scandal in which A-Rod is embroiled was the furthest thing from the mind of McCarron, who described himself as an unabashed fan.
"I was probably too much of a fan to begin with, so he was probably creeped out a little," McCarron said with a smile. "But it was one of my only times to ever be a fan. I've been a big Yankees fan for my entire life."
McCarron recalled how Yankees manager Joe Girardi talked to the Crimson Tide in a team meeting this season and later told McCarron that he played video of him and Alabama center Barrett Jones shoving each other during last year's BCS title win over Notre Dame.
"He said that's the type of play they need between their players, to stay on each other for perfection," McCarron said. "Then I met [Derek] Jeter at the LSU game, which was unreal for him to sit there and talk to me. He said he loves watching me play and he's a big fan. Then A-Rod telling me the same thing was kind of surreal and just an honor to be on the phone with him."
Growing up in Mobile, Ala., McCarron said his family followed Alabama and the Atlanta Braves, but the contrarian in him favored the Miami Hurricanes and the Yankees.
If he had one wish, McCarron would have loved to play at the old Yankee Stadium. "That would have been awesome," he said. "It would have been an honor."