Alex Rodriguez, Cliff Lee and the 21 Cockiest Players in MLB
Just the other day, I was having a conversation with someone about sports. This individual told me how baseball was their favorite sport because "all of the others have just too many egos."
I must say that this comment made me laugh. While other sports certainly have ego-maniacal players, baseball probably has some of the worst. At least three times during the regular season, fans will hear about a player being a prima donna via a fallout with team management, a fight with a fellow player, etc.
In honoring A-Rod and the rest of the baseball egos, I've compiled a list. Here are the 21 cockiest players in MLB, Rodriguez included. I apologize in advance for including anybody's favorite player.
No. 21: Logan Morrison, Florida Marlins
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Now, Morrison may not be cocky in the sense that he's a headcase who thinks he's too cool for team exercises or even someone who thinks he's better than he really is.
This young outfielder's cockiness stems from his brutal honesty, and it's what his fans love him for.
In reading his Twitter (@LoMoMarlins), this quality of his comes out full force. Take a look at this sample Tweet:
"I see my new follower count slowing down. Here's what I have to say to that... http://bit.ly/kvwQY3"
With his laid-back personality and downright hilarious Tweets that practically nobody would expect from a baseball player, Morrison is the perfect man to kick off this countdown.
No. 20: Edgar Renteria, Cincinnati Reds
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Last season, Edgar Renteria only played in 72 games for the San Francisco Giants, posting a .276 batting average with just three home runs and 22 RBI.
Yet, he had a great postseason and hit .412 with two homers and six RBI in the World Series as he was named World Series MVP after the Giants won it all in five games.
Once he hit free agency, the team offered him a very fair one-year, $1 million offer which he said "insulted" him, so he signed with Cincinnati instead. Instead of realizing that he didn't deserve a big contract based solely on his postseason performance, Renteria threw a hissy fit and called the offer "disrespectful."
Renteria eventually signed a one-year, $2.1 million deal (plus incentives) with the Reds and has been underwhelming.
In 32 games, he is hitting .237 with no home runs and 10 RBI. Sounds like he should have taken the Giants offer.
No. 19: Jose Reyes, New York Mets
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Jose Reyes definitely does not have a big ego compared to some of the others who will be mentioned shortly.
His teammates love him, he plays hard, and his love for the game is something for which he should receive a medal.
Yet, Reyes makes this list simply because of the way he carries himself on the field. For someone who isn't a tremendous power hitter nor an incredible fielder, Reyes displays more confidence at shortstop and at bat than any other player I've seen.
Each time he gets on base or makes a big play, you'll notice that he has sort of a "how do you like me now?" look on his face.
He is beloved by both Mets fans and baseball fans alike, so hopefully he will stay in Flushing for many more seasons to come.
No. 18: Luis Castillo, Free Agent
Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stated that unless Castillo made the team, he would be released.
Thus, Castillo did not help his chances when he didn't show up to his first game with the team.
He blamed it on a "miscommunication," but let's be honest. Castillo was upset at having to sign a minor-league deal and he thought he was too good for it. After just a week with the Phillies, he was released and no other team has contacted him since.
If that's not a sign of an overly large ego, I don't know what is.
No. 17: Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox
Over the years, Alex Rios has developed a reputation as a solid hitter with great speed and a phenomenal arm.
Yet, despite his success, most people seem to remember him for an incident that occurred in June 2009, when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays.
After a game in which he went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts, Rios famously ignored a child who wanted his autograph. He was called out by someone else at the scene and flipped out.
Watch the video for more details but let me just say this: if you're a player, NEVER lash out at your fans like that.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED NSFV
No. 16: Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankees
No. 15: J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox
At this point, J.D. Drew is probably the most hated player on the Boston Red Sox...by the Boston fans, that is. Seriously, Drew has been an underachiever not just in Boston, but throughout his career.
He has missed a lot of time with various injuries, and has been lackadaisical in the field despite making $14 million a year in Boston. It's clear that Drew isn't doing all he can to keep himself in top shape because at the end of the day, he gets paid no matter what.
Yet, Drew's biggest flash of ego occurred at the close of the 2006 season, when he had just played his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Drew had signed a five-year, $55 million deal before the 2005 season.
This deal contained an opt-out clause following the second year and Drew gave no indication that he would exercise that option, telling an LA columnist that he was excited for the 2007 season and "happy in LA."
It's like the old saying says: Hell hath no fury like Dodgers fans scorned. With his giant ego, Drew did just that.
No. 14: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia is on this countdown for the same reasons that Jose Reyes is. He is not a headcase by any means, but the way he carries himself on the field suggests a giant ego.
Listed at a very generous 5'9" and 180 pounds, Pedroia plays with the confidence of someone who is 6'3" and weighs 220. Be it making a great play in the field or launching a rocket home run, Pedroia caps each of his clutch plays with a "That's right, I did that" look.
Love him or hate him, you have to respect this guy's game and his earned right to a big ego.
No. 13: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
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Last season, Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez kicked his way (literally) into baseball ego history.
After missing a looper towards him, Ramirez went after the ball and actually accidentally kicked it into left field. Rather than run hard after it to prevent runs from scoring, he simply jogged towards the ball and two runs scored. Then-manager Fredi Gonzalez pulled Ramirez from the game.
What resulted was a war of words during which Ramirez ripped his manager, and just when you thought that the Marlins couldn't be any more dramatic than team owner Jeffrey Loria, they became just that way.
The relationship between Gonzalez and the All-Star shortstop became so frosty and such a distraction that Gonzalez was fired a month later.
Ramirez's ego problems from last year seem to still be dogging him as this season, he is batting just .210 with four homers and 17 RBI.
No. 12: A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox
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Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made an interesting comment about Pierzynski to ESPN in 2005.
"If you play against him, you hate him," Guillen said. "If you play with him, you hate him a little less."
Pierzynski has been cocky for a long time, and has shown no signs of changing. He spent an offseason dabbling in pro wrestling and at the White Sox World Series victory parade in 2005, he thanked team personnel for "putting up with me."
Long story short, this man loves the spotlight and will do anything to be in it.
No. 11: John Lackey, Boston Red Sox
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John Lackey is an overrated pitcher who isn't aware that he is, in fact, overrated.
After eight underwhelming seasons with the Angels, during the last of which (2009) he went 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA, the cocky Lackey entered free agency looking for "Burnett money."
Translation: He wanted money greater or equal to the five-year, $82.5 million deal A.J. Burnett received from the New York Yankees the previous season.
The fact that Lackey thinks he is worth that much is a joke. The sad part is that the Boston Red Sox ended up giving him that same contract and he has thus far underperformed. This season, he is 3-5 with a 7.60 ERA.
Way to be modest about how much you're worth, John!
No. 10: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
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Jose Bautista is a cocky player who has absolutely no right to be. He has had one great season (and is currently in the middle of a second one) and before 2010, not many people had even heard of him.
On top of that, when a call doesn't go his way, Bautista has a tendency to go absolutely berserk at an umpire. I'm sorry, Jose, but that's just not allowed.
Had this man been posting 50-plus home runs season after season from the time he made his debut, then arguing with the umpire would be warranted.
Instead, his power appeared out of nowhere due to a "swing change." I'm not buying that.
Also, has anyone else noticed how angry Bautista gets at umpires? Could it be 'roid rage? Hmmmmm...
Anyway, with his cock-of-the-walk attitude and questionable and sudden emergence, Bautista kicks off the Top 10.
No. 9: Jason Giambi, Colorado Rockies
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Jason Giambi's cockiness is not so much in the sense that he's a problem player who is in love with himself, but rather that his career was over long ago and he just refuses to accept it.
After a 2008 campaign in which he finished with a .247 average, 32 homers and 96 RBI, the then 37-year-old Giambi should have hung his cleats up.
Instead, he wanted to continue his quest for 400 home runs despite the fact that his admitted steroid use would most likely deny him entry into Cooperstown. Before 2009, he signed a contract with the Oakland A's, with whom he began his career.
He had 11 homers and 40 RBI in 83 games with them, but hit only .193 before being released and signing with the Colorado Rockies.
He remains with the Rockies as a backup, and has been underwhelming despite hitting three home runs in a game this season. Since 2009, the former All-Star has hit just .227 and needs to realize his career is done.
No. 8: Ivan Rodriguez, Washington Nationals
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Ivan Rodriguez and his cocky attitude are in the same league as Giambi. This man should have retired long ago and yet still plays, even as a backup.
One can go on and on about how the man they call "Pudge" has a legitimate love of the game, but let's be honest. He's only playing until he gets 3,000 hits. He currently has 2,835 and given how he's basically an ineffective backup at this point, that could take a while.
The sad part is that he doesn't even NEED that milestone. He'd get into the Hall of Fame with his current resume, but his ego and cockiness keep him on the field and make him a big joke.
No. 7: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
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Miguel Cabrera is a great player who will surely make the Hall of Fame at some point, but his cocky attitude has gotten him in trouble a couple of times.
In October 2009, the night before an important game that the Tigers needed to win to make the playoffs, Cabrera was arrested following a domestic dispute with his wife at their home. It was reported that his BAC was .26, three times the legal limit.
Clearly hung over, Cabrera went 0-for-4 in that game and the Tigers lost, forcing a one-game playoff with the Minnesota Twins. We all know what happened then.
My question is simple. What kind of player goes out and drinks heavily the night before an important game? The cocky Cabrera, it seems...
No. 6: Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox
Do I really need to explain this one? Just look at Jonathan Papelbon's face. Would a pitcher react like that to a play and NOT have a big ego?
I didn't think so.
No. 5: Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs
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Carlos Zambrano has had attitude problems throughout his career. The man is blessed in the fact that he is a great pitcher, but is cursed in that he knows it. Simply, this man has no shame.
He has gotten into dugout fights with teammates on multiple occasions and most recently, bashed his team's closer Carlos Marmol and said that the Cubs were "embarrassing."
Call me crazy, but it sounds as though Zambrano thinks that he is too good for the Cubs. If that's the case, he has the ability to request a trade. Either way, though, his cockiness was way out of line. NEVER call your teammates out no matter how bad they or the team are performing.
No. 4: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
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Derek Jeter is just 14 hits away from being the first New York Yankee to reach 3,000. Instead of saying he's excited about it, he's playing it cool and pulling the "I'm not even thinking about it" card. While seemingly humble, that's the sign of a cocky player right there.
On top of that, Jeter doesn't think he needs his batting coach's help. After an underachieving 2010, Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long worked with Jeter and adjusted both his swing and stance. A few games into the season, Jeter decided he was going back to his old swing and has been average ever since.
However, Jeter's biggest show of cockiness came during the offseason when he and the Yankees front office were in a terrible contract dispute. They ultimately agreed on a deal, but Jeter was not shy about mentioning how the situation was handled and how he felt about it.
Don't get me wrong. I love Jeter, but he needs an attitude adjustment as his career is slowly on the decline.
No. 3: Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
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Cliff Lee easily became the most hated pitcher in baseball after he spurned higher offers from both the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees to sign a five-year, $120 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he had pitched in the latter half of 2009. At the press conference, Lee said, "I never wanted to leave here in the first place."
I'm sorry, but that just makes me angry. Had Lee wanted to go to Philadelphia the entire time, why did he even bother listening to offers from the Rangers and Yankees and tell them he would let them know? He should have said from the start that he wanted to go back to the Phillies and not strung other teams along.
With his player-like (and I'm not talking about the athlete-type) approach to contract negotiations/free agency, Lee kicks off the Top Three.
No. 2: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
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Well, where do I begin with this guy? He famously opted out of his already lucrative contract during the 2007 World Series, only to re-sign with the New York Yankees for a higher amount. This wasn't exactly a surprise, as A-Rod was already reputed to be one of the biggest jerks in all of baseball.
Yet, in reading Joe Torre's book, the cocky attitude of Alex Rodriguez truly came to light. According to Torre, teammates referred to the future Hall of Famer as "A-Fraud" and the man is apparently obsessed with his image.
On top of that, he's absolutely in love with himself. I've heard rumors that his apartment has tons of mirrors just so that he can look at himself. He's one of my favorite players, but that rumor just scares me.
Regardless, Rodriguez has a big ego and knows it. The problem is that he can actually back it up.
No. 1: Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants
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Brian Wilson is cocky and he knows it. While in other cases that might not be considered a good quality, Wilson's attitude is what makes him awesome. He isn't a head case, but rather the goofy fearless leader of the San Francisco Giants.
He speaks his mind and is proud of it, no matter how outlandish his words may be. How many other players will admit to being a "certified ninja"? Not many, in my opinion.
Plus, remember when Wilson got fined for wearing bright orange cleats? Well, in an interview on Jim Rome Is Burning, the famous host asked the equally famous Wilson what he was fined for, exactly. Wilson's response was simple: "Having too much awesome on my feet."
He's funny, fans love him, and he just doesn't care about how cocky he comes off. Brian Wilson is the cockiest player in baseball and unlike most of the players on this list, he's one who should be commended for it.