A.J. Burnett reached into the small compartment at the top of his locker and grabbed his iPhone, eager to show off the text message that had meant so much.What a great kid. Nova continues to show wisdom far beyond his years.
The majority of Yankee Universe had all but given up on him, but as he stood alone in the corner of the visitors' clubhouse at Comerica Park just after midnight Wednesday, he spoke of one person in particular who gave him all the advice he needed for his big day.
"I'll tell you exactly what he said," Burnett, dressed in a dark gray suit and burgundy dress shirt, told Newsday after the Yankees' 10-1 pasting of the Tigers in ALDS Game 4. "He owed me too, because I texted him all year. He said, 'I trust you and I believe in you, so let's get this series to New York, brother.'"
"I just told him to have fun," Nova continued, adding that he was one of Burnett's biggest cheerleaders in the dugout. "I texted him last night: We've got to take the series back to New York and you don't have to put no pressure on yourself. Just enjoy and relax and have fun. If it's working for me, it's got to be working for him."
Burnett said he couldn't help but be deeply touched by his teammate's gesture.
"You get goose bumps. Immediately, you know?" said Burnett. "[Nova's] got this thing where he wins baseballs, when he does good, from Chad [Bohling]. So he always wants to earn the baseball. So I told him, 'I said I want my pelota,' " Burnett said, referring to the Spanish word for "ball."
"It feels good. He didn't have to send me that text, you know? He calls me big brother for a reason, I guess."
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
From Kimberley A. Martin: