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July 27, 2004

Breaking Balls

I'm a Straight Shooter

by Derek Zumsteg

I'm a straight shooter, I don't beat around the bush. I'm going to come right out and level with you. This may be controversial to some, but it's true, so like I need to say it, I have a responsibility to say it. It's what I'm all about. I'm a guy who speaks out, says what's on his mind, I always have been and hopefully I always will be. I've always said what had to be said, even when it wasn't popular. We have to look at everything and discard what doesn't work. Look, we pulled down the Berlin Wall, and it was once controversial to speak out against that. I like to think time will prove me right. It has in the past, I think that's going to continue. Ideas come and go, and you have to look at them and if their time is past, then so be it, that's how it goes. You can shoot the messenger if you want, but I've been shot at before and I'm still here, still talking to you. The learning curve in sports is more like a mountain, and I'm not afraid to say that we've climbed it and we can look back down. It's 81 degrees and overcast downtown, 10 past the hour. My point is you can throw all the information in the world at a question like this and it won't get you any closer to a solution, at some point you have to go to your gut and say what you feel, and that's what I'm going to do here. I try to see through the hype and the spin and all the other stuff that surrounds the game, and cut it right down to what's important. People may tell you otherwise, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but it's one everyone has to respect. I put my cards on the table. You can't stay inside the box, you have to be willing to express unpopular opinions, and I've always done that. I say what I think, and I tell it like it is. That's how we got where we are. I'm being honest here. Maybe I'm too blunt sometimes for everyone, and that's OK with me. I'm frank with everyone on a daily basis, I don't pretend to take some position because it's controversial if I don't believe in it seriously. And this isn't just a heads-up, something to think about. I'm entirely serious about this. I don't take prisoners, I'm not afraid to tell it like it is. This is the way it has to be, and at some point everyone is going to be forced to accept it. It's not about me, or about who is or isn't right. Derek Jeter is the most valuable player in the American League.

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