For more than a decade Jim Fannin’s job was essentially to be on call for Alex Rodriguez to speak with, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
That's what comes with being A-Rod’s mental performance coach.
“I’d been with him every day since ’96 up through last year,” Fannin said yesterday in a telephone interview. “I know him better than he probably knows himself.”
So while many people might say they’re surprised by Rodriguez’s ungodly postseason performance, Fannin definitely won’t. He stopped working with him after last season, but in essence, he’s been telling A-Rod for quite some time that what he's doing this October was, well, bound to happen.
“This is the most relaxed I’ve seen – well, I’ve seen him this relaxed before,” Fannin said. “I’ve seen him in this mindset many, many times. That’s not unusual to see him in this mindset.
“But the world hasn’t seen him in this mindset in the playoffs.”
The obvious question for someone who was once so close to the Yankee third baseman: Why does he think A-Rod has pulled a 180-degree turnaround from past Octobers, transforming himself from playoff dud to stud?
Fannin's answer is similar to what A-Rod has been saying all year long. Among the reasons Fannin listed are: “his personal life is more secure … he’s more relaxed … he’s laying low with the media… he’s not concerned about what anyone thinks … he’s very locked in.”
Four years ago Rodriguez authored the foreword to Fannin’s book, "S.C.O.R.E. for Life," and A-Rod wrote: “Jim has either left me a phone message or spoken to me in person or on the phone for every game of my career… Every game.”
But their working relationship ended last season, and the reason why is unclear.
Fannin said only, “I basically did not want to work with him this year.”
Rodriguez couldn’t be reached for comment before Game 1 - less media access, remember? – but he has said repeatedly that this season he limited everything and everyone around him.
However it went down, it’s clear Fannin holds no ill will. He said his client list over the years features 24 major-league all-stars, and this year he said he worked with Carlos Delgado and Casey Blake. And he made it clear that he feels good his former client has finally broken out of his postseason hex, just like he knew was possible.
“He definitely put too much pressure on himself,” Fannin said. “He’s a guy who is extremely talented. It’s tough being in New York with all the distractions and the media.
"This year, I think he’s more comfortable with all of them. He’s definitely relaxed.”
Commuter Yankees will go through Penn Station
If you’re a commuter who deals with the daily hubbub of Penn Station, maybe you can give the Yankees some tips.
They’ll be there after Game 2 to catch their train to Philadelphia.
Okay, so they’re trek through Penn won’t be the same as yours. An Amtrak spokesman said yesterday there were be security officers on hand ready to escort the Yankees from their bus, through Penn Station and onto their chartered train. Plus, the Yankees employ their own security detail for road trips.
But, still, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, C.C. Sabathia and A-Rod will be walking among the masses in Penn Station, at least for a few minutes.
Which should make for an oddly intriguing scene.
“When the Phillies arrived Monday night, they came through Penn Station and there was a large but orderly turnout,” Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said. “People seemed to thrilled they get that close to the players.”
The Boss’ old Yankee Stadium seats for sale
On the field before last night’s World Series opener, the Yankee Stadium grounds crew were working on the field wearing blue t-shirts that said, “Win One For The Boss.”
On the main level there was a display of Steiner Sports auction items, including two seats that were said to be from George Steinbrenner’s box in the old stadium.
There was no price on the seats and the item wasn’t yet listed on the Steiner Sports web site. A representative on hand said the Steinbrenner item will be listed any day now.
The auction runs through December 6.