The Captain has been making headlines this week — and it’s not just Derek Jeter who has captured our interest!
The former star shortstop of the New York Yankees is the focus of ESPN‘s new multi-part docuseries that debuts on the sports giant’s platform next Monday. But while we’ve already dug into Jeets’ reaction to his infamous alleged hookup gift-giving habits, there’s a lot more to cover!
The MLB star transcended baseball and became a pop culture force during his playing days after getting romantically involved with the likes of A-listers like Mariah Carey, Jessica Biel, and Minka Kelly. But it turns out things were juicy AF (in a very different way!) between Jeets and teammate Alex Rodriguez, too!
Let’s take a trip back — waaaaay before A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez were ever a thing, LOLz — to the duo’s on-field days…
It all started back in 2001, when A-Rod did an interview with Esquire. During the profile, the then-Texas Rangers star shortstop made some questionable comments about Jeter, who was starring at the same position with the Yankees. Saying Jeter had been “blessed with true talent around him” and thus “never had to lead,” A-Rod told the mag at the time:
“You never say, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you.’ That’s never your concern.”
The pair had been friends before those comments were published. They enjoyed a healthy on-field rivalry early in their careers, with A-Rod’s Seattle Mariners fighting against Jeter and the Yankees, but they were still friends off the field. But the Esquire comments really got to Derek! The Yankee great spoke about his reaction to reading those 2001 words in his interview for The Captain, saying:
“Those comments bothered me because, like I said, I’m very, very loyal. As a friend, I’m loyal. And I just looked at it as, I wouldn’t have done it. And then it was the media, the constant hammer to the nail, you know what I mean? They just kept hammering it in. It just became noise, which frustrated me. It was just constant noise.”
Oof! Not great!
To Rodriguez’s credit, he sat down for an interview in the forthcoming docuseries and owned up to the old statements. The former baseball star said he “felt really bad” about the fateful interview:
“The way that it was written, I absolutely said exactly what I said. … Immediately I called Derek and said, ‘I’d love to come up and see you, come talk to you.’ We sat on his couch and spoke for an hour or so. I apologized and said, ‘Look, I feel you guys have a tsunami, it’s a great team, that wasn’t said to hurt you or penalize you or slight you in any way.’”
Jeter ultimately revealed he “believed” A-Rod’s apology, recalling that it had been “very sincere” at the time.
So that’s good! Beef squashed right away then, right?
Not so fast…
Jeter also recalled a second incident in which A-Rod made sus comments about him. It happened on sports commentator Dan Patrick‘s radio show a year before the Esquire dust-up, in 2000, after Rodriguez signed what was then the largest contract in sports history.
Rodriguez told Patrick that Jeter wouldn’t be the star to break his then-record $252 million deal in the future, because Derek “just doesn’t do the power numbers and defensively he doesn’t do all those things.” Oof!
Clearly still frustrated by those two decade-old comments all these years later, Jeter recalled that moment in the docuseries, too:
“The Dan Patrick interview, [A-Rod] was talking about a comparison between me and him on the field. In my mind, he got his contract, so you’re trying to diminish what I’m doing maybe to justify why you got paid? Because I think, look, when you talk about statistics, my statistics never compared to Alex’s statistics. I’m not blind. I understand. But we won. You can say whatever you want about me as a player, that’s fine, but then it goes back to the trust and the loyalty. This is how the guy feels, he’s not a true friend, is how I felt. Because I wouldn’t do it to a friend.”
Jeter makes a good point! Thinking you’re better at something is one thing, announcing it in public? So rude…
Rodriguez proved to be remarkably reflective in the docuseries. During his sit-down, he thought about how his relationship with Jeter had changed over the years — even after they finally became teammates in New York prior to the 2004 season.
“I think that changed in where I said some things that he didn’t like, and that, for him, broke the trust. And I think from that moment on it was never quite the same ever again. I think it’s [me] really not understanding the way things work. In many ways, my father leaving when I was 10, not getting that schooling at home, the tough love, it resulted in insecurity, some self esteem issues and as I got older I realized, all you gotta be is be yourself.”
At this point in his life, Jeter was similarly forgiving and reflective. The former Yankees star admitted both he and A-Rod “were young” and that people “make mistakes.” Jeter added:
“Some mistakes bigger than others. What I expect of you, you should expect the same of me. I wouldn’t treat you that way. And, once again, that’s fine. I’m still gonna be cordial. But you crossed the line, and I won’t let you in again.”
All is (probably?) well that ends well, though: in 2009, Jeter and A-Rod won the World Series together with the Yankees. And in 2018, A-Rod told Cigar Aficionado that he and Jeter were “friends” despite their “ups and downs” over the years.
Really?? So maybe it’s all good between the two former stars now? Or, at least, as good as it’s ever going to be?
[Image via ESPN/YouTube]
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