The Post has some excerpts from the new Ian O’Connor book on Derek Jeter:
Jeter, who prized poise and selflessness, dismissed A-Rod and his diva-like behavior.
And when fans and rival players criticized A-Rod, Jeter deferred instead of defending his teammate.
General Manager Brian Cashman noticed this and asked Jeter to “fake it” with A-Rod.
“You’ve got to lead them all, the ones you like and the ones you don’t,” he told him. He asked him to appeal to Yankee fans on A-Rod’s behalf.
“I can’t tell the fans what to do,” Jeter countered.
A-Rod’s obsession with Jeter continued, the book says. He constantly asked players and team officials about Jeter — down to which charity he was currently supporting.
It all came to a head during a Yankee loss in August 2006 to Baltimore.
An easy pop-up hung in the air between A-Rod and Jeter. Both players closed in and Jeter bumped into A-Rod, knocking the ball out of his glove. Jeter shot A-Rod a withering look.
The gesture did not go unnoticed. Cashman pulled Jeter aside and ordered him to knock it off.
“Listen, this has to stop,” Cashman said. “Everybody in the press box, every team official, everyone watching, they saw you look at the ball on the ground and look at him with disgust like you were saying, ‘That’s your mess, you clean it up.’ ”
A-Rod also felt betrayed by manager Joe Torre, who players said added fuel to the fiery feud.
“He would never call Jeter on anything, but he’d have no problem doing it to Alex,” one player told the author.
I am not sure how to feel about all of this. Many of us were critical of Jeter’s leadership during the feud era, and it is somewhat gratifying to see those complaints and suspicions independently confirmed. It seems that Jeter allowed his issue with Alex to infect the clubhouse, enough so that the front office felt it necessary to get involved.
That said, I think the context of the book’s release is important. If the book had been released in March of 2009, people would be highlighting the more pro-Jeter elements of the feud. But A-Rod’s dramatic shift in popularity combined with Jeter’s declining play and unseemly contract negotiations have made for an open season on Derek Jeter. This shapes how every quote and anecdote is interpreted in the media and by fans, and frames our perception of the two players. Additionally, books like this are written to tell the most interesting story, often without regard for what may be the whole truth or the fairest telling of the tale. I would not be surprised if the picture that the book paints is entirely one sided, and I would take everything in it with a grain of salt.
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