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Naulty made the team as its mop-up man. The Yankees won 98 games, but they were 6--27 in the games Naulty pitched. But he pitched the year largely clean: no steroids, no amphetamines—except a few days when he was too hungover and needed the speed to snap himself back. He was still an alcoholic.
Naulty was assigned a locker between relievers Mariano Rivera and Jason Grimsley, two of many devout Christians on the team, a group that also included Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi, Mike Stanton and Chad Curtis. They would invite Naulty to what they called "daily devotionals," gatherings in a dingy storage room in the bowels of Yankee Stadium to read Scripture and pray together. After a month or so, Naulty decided to join in.
Naulty was not raised in a religious home. In January 1997 a friend asked him to go to church, and Dan agreed. At the end of the service, the preacher invited people to come to the front of the room and confess their sins. "And I did," Naulty says. "I never heard the gospel before. I walked to the front of the room and accepted Christ as my savior. But nothing happened. My lifestyle didn't change."
Naulty was shocked at the participants in the Yankees' daily devotionals: star players with huge contracts. "I was just floored that people who made that much money needed God," he says. "Why on earth would I need God when I was with the Yankees and I've got hundreds of thousands of dollars and I've got whatever I want?"
When the players bowed their heads to pray, Naulty lifted his and added up the salaries in the room. The devotionals did not change him. "By day I would hang out with the Christians and talk to them about God," he says. "When I left the park it was a Jekyll and Hyde thing. I'd run around Manhattan with my head cut off all night and just get loaded up and start the whole process again."
Years later, Pettitte, Stanton and Grimsley, like Naulty, were named in the Mitchell Report. "Shocked," Naulty says. "It would obviously contradict everything we believe as Christians. That was certainly shocking."
Off steroids, something else was changing with Naulty. He was beginning to realize that he didn't love baseball anymore. One day during a rain delay at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Naulty was watching television on a clubhouse couch. Centerfielder Bernie Williams, famous for his ability to fall asleep anywhere, was dozing next to him. Suddenly word came that the game was back on. Williams awoke.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"Oh, man, they've got the game back on and we've got to play," groused Naulty.
"Awesome!" Williams shouted.