Still, when Yankees legend Mariano Rivera wrote a post-retirement book, he spoke incredibly highly of a Red Sox player, who has been a thorn in the Yankees' side for years.
Rivera was discussing Robinson Cano, his teammate of 9 seasons in New York:
That's awful telling, when a player like Rivera chooses a Red Sox player over Cano, a long-time teammate.
Cano is undoubtedly a supremely talented player, but the knock on him for years was that he dogs it sometimes. He doesn't always run out ground balls, he doesn't have the "dirt dog" mentality of a guy like Pedroia, and he doesn't always play at 100%.
Whether that's a legit complaint is up for debate, since Cano's actual production has been greater than any second baseman in his era. Should he really be faulted for a perceived lack of effort, when he's still putting up numbers as good as (or better than) anyone at his position?
Rivera's comments shouldn't necessarily be taken as an insult to Cano, whom he acknowledges is one of the great players in the game.
It's really just a testament to the greatness of Pedroia, who has proven since he won the Rookie of the Year in 2007 that he's willing to do whatever it takes to win, and he'll always give his team a fighting chance.