Juan for all

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And that man has blossomed into a bona fide baseball star--a hero--even if the media would rather talk about Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Belle, or Mike Piazza. Gonzalez himself sometimes seems uncomfortable with the role, sometimes rounding the bases after a home run with his head down, as though he is too abashed to celebrate the moment.

"Absolutely I have a big responsibility to this team," he says, still standing at his locker in his underwear, long after the media have cleared out. "I am one of the key players here. But it's not only my team. There are 24, 25 other guys here trying hard every day. There's Will, Pudge. Hey, he [Rodriguez] has great numbers too. A lot of people say, 'Hey, it's your team.' No, no. It's everybody playing together, like a family. I don't like it when people talk about me. I am working hard for my numbers, but I'm working hard to win every game too.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky