It was a little after noon on St. Patrick's Day, and the Yankees fan leaning over the railing at McKechnie Field had one beer in his hand and probably a few more in his bloodstream. Maybe he was out to prove why they call it "liquid courage" because the man in the Derek Jeter jersey was playing the tough guy, heckling any Pirates player he could find near the team's clubhouse. That's when he found Michael McKenry, who had stepped under an awning to do some optional conditioning on a rare off day for the catcher. McKenry seemed like the ultimate target for criticism, the kind he has encountered for most of his life. He doesn't look like a baseball player -- short with a stocky build. The fan mocked McKenry as he moved through each exercise. When McKenry did an abdominal workout, the heckler sarcastically shouted, "Core! Core! Core!" McKenry flashed him a smile. When McKenry jumped over a series of hurdles, the heckler piped in with some exaggerated "Oohs" and "Ahs." McKenry stopped his workout for a second and looked toward the boardwalk. He smiled, pointed in his direction and said, "I like you." It's a scenario McKenry has played out most of his life. Wherever his career has taken him, he has heard hecklers and doubters. His college baseball coach didn't think he wanted to be a catcher. Professional scouts thought he was too small to make it to the major leagues. He reacts the same way every time: flashes them a smile, wins them with kindness and proves them wrong.
Pirates' McKenry still working to prove critics wrong
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Mar 24