Rodriguez suddenly finds himself too weak to stand. In the middle of an interview, he plops himself down on a folding chair. "I feel this was the first year I had to lead," he says, "and it's emotionally draining. I sucked in the three losses against Oakland because I tried to do too much. That was a learning experience. But in these last couple of days, with our backs against the wall, I felt everyone on this team was looking to me. I feel proud that I somewhat answered the call."
Rodriguez may be as gone as Griffey very soon. Though these may be his last days with the Mariners, he has given them direction. It is written right there in red ink on the wipeboard across the room from him: CHICAGO HERE WE COME.