It was Spring Training 2000, my first Minor League camp. I’m eating at the Cheesecake Factory in Tampa. Bernie Williams walks by with his wife and stops by and says, “Hey, Marlon, how are you doing?” I look at him and I’m thinking to myself, how in the world do you know who I am? You’re Bernie Williams. Same thing with Derek Jeter, same thing with Gerald Williams. It seemed like that whole click, Posada, all of them, they treated baseball like a fraternity, like it should be. Everyone was equal, and it didn’t matter who you were. If you were a part of a team or an organization, they treated you like they were your brother. I’ve always respected that, I’ve always respected the Yankees because of the way they handle things.
That’s always been in the back of my mind and that’s the way I’ve tried to be. I didn’t know how in the world they knew all the guys like that in that area — you had the Yankees, the Phillies and the Blue Jays in Tampa area. I guess that’s the Yankee Way. That was my first Spring Training. Bernie Williams. I’ve always respected that. It’s a respect thing. Just the way they handle themselves and treat everyone the same. Do they do that here? There are some guys that do. I try to be like that.