Nobody knows a baseball player like his teammates. During the endless grind of the season, as players travel back and forth across the country together in confined spaces, each player's idiosyncrasies become widely known to all. The trouble is these quirks are seldom realized outside the clubhouse.Here's an example of of the questions:
Enter the Wall Street Journal's first-ever unscientific, personality survey of the 2011 Yankees. Over several days this season, we polled 18 players and asked for their unabashed views on their teammates:
Who would you most want at your side in a brawl?For the rest of the survey, click here.
Winner: Sergio Mitre
Runner-up: Russell Martin
The shocker of the survey came when deciding who could be counted on when fists fly. The 6-foot-7, 315-pound CC Sabathia? Thanks, but no thanks. The ripped, 6-foot-3, 230-pound Rodriguez? Nah. Instead, the Yankees overwhelmingly picked Mitre, a quiet, not overly muscled 30-year-old relief pitcher. Huh?
"That's a big secret," Mitre chuckled. "A lot of people don't know. But if anybody's in trouble, you want me there."
Mitre explained that he grew up on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico, where street fighting was an unavoidable fact of life.
"Long story short, I grew up fighting. My dad got tired of me coming home, shirt ripped, always bloody. So he put me into martial arts—Chinese Kempo, boxing, wrestling. I have a full, well-rounded education," Mitre said.
Mitre says once he began learning—he trained for six years and competed in tournaments—nobody wanted to fight him anymore.
Mitre proceeded to demonstrate several techniques on this reporter, whose thumb, elbow, and ribcage continue to feel the effects several days later.