"I guess I'm the brave one" righthander Bret Saberhagen says. "I sit next to him on the bus. Carl can talk to me and carry on a conversation on his cell phone at the same time. That's talent."
"The guy can yap," righthander Pedro Martinez says. "But he can back it up. It's a good thing he is this good."
Through Sunday, Everett was hitting .320 with the kind of authority that once caused Tom McCraw, his former hitting instructor with the Mets and the Houston Astros, to declare, "The scary part about Carl Everett is, he hasn't gotten as good as he's going to get. He has a chance to run off a couple of MVP years." Everett was leading all American League outfielders in home runs (21), RBIs (59) and bulletin-board material. Only Britney Spears posters get tacked up more than Everett quotes.
" Carl Everett is the best player in the major leagues," says Marlins righthander Ryan Dempster. "Just ask Carl Everett."
"If I didn't know him, I'd say, 'What's his problem?' " says Marlins manager John Boles, who was the team's director of player development when Everett played in the Florida system. "But I know him, so it doesn't affect me. It's like our catcher, Paul Bako, who played with him in Houston, said: Carl's the kind of guy opponents hate. When you play with him, you appreciate what he brings. Carl shoots from the hip. Sometimes he's accurate. Sometimes he's not."
These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein.
Everett already has been traded three times and lost once in an expansion draft. In 1992 the Yankees protected such forgettables as Dave Silvestri and Hensley Meulens rather than Everett, their 1990 first-round pick (and 10th overall) in the amateur draft. The Marlins signed him. "I jumped for joy," Everett says of leaving the Yankees. "I never wanted to be drafted by them. There were people in that organization that didn't want me to succeed."
Everett lasted two seasons in the Florida system. His 1994 campaign ended when his Triple A team, the Edmonton Trappers, suspended him for lack of hustle and insubordination that included a verbal confrontation with his manager, Sal Rende. The Marlins decided they'd rather have the light-hitting Chuckie Carr play centerfield than Everett. So in November 1994 they dumped him on the Mets for second baseman Quilvio Veras.
On his first day in New York's spring training camp, Everett, as many players do, walked slowly to fetch a ball while shagging flies in batting practice. Dallas Green, the Mets manager at the time, watching from behind the batting cage, groaned and said, "Now I see why people say the kid's a dog." Green, who was fired in 1996, never gave Everett regular playing time. "He wanted you to kiss his tail, and I wouldn't," Everett says.
While with the Mets, Everett was kicked out of winter ball in Venezuela for going into the stands after some fans who Everett claimed were throwing beer at him. In 1997 he and his wife, Linda, were charged with abusing Carl's six-year-old daughter, Shawna, and their five-year-old son, Carl IV. The charges were dropped, but a New York Family Court judge ruled that Linda, the girl's stepmother, inflicted "excessive corporal punishment" on the children and that Carl did little to stop her. The couple retained custody of Carl IV—they also have three other children—but Shawna was placed in the care of her maternal grandmother, where she remains.