In today’s Daily News, Anthony McCarron would have us believe that Derek Jeter is frustrated with the Alex Rodriguez situation. That’s what the headline says, and that’s what his article intimates.
Upon closer reading, however, this concept utterly breaks down. Let’s excerpt only Derek Jeter’s quotes and not McCarron’s reporting/analysis.
“I’m not addressing Alex’s situation until everybody’s here…”
“I’m not going to do it every single day,” Jeter said… “Are things a distraction? It’s a distraction when you talk about it every single day…”
“Every year it’s something,” Jeter said Tuesday. “Last year…I’m sure you go back, there was something. It’s the Yankees, there’s always a story at some point. A lot of the guys who’ve been here, they’re used to it. Not something of this level, but used to answering questions about some other things. Once baseball activities begin, hopefully we can concentrate on that.
“I understand you guys have a job to do, I really do,” Jeter told reporters. “But we have a job to do, too, and it’s much better for me, much better for the team to address it one time and not continually address it day after day. If everyone (in the media contingent) was down here today, I’d address it today.
“A lot of times, situations where there’s controversy, guys pull for each other and pull together a little more. That’s what you hope for.”
That, my friends, is not Derek Jeter getting frustrated over Alex Rodriguez. That is Derek Jeter, after 13 seasons, unleashing his pent up fury over the New York media. It’s been a long time coming.
Derek, as Joe Torre and Tom Verducci make abundantly clear in their recent book, has been the even-keeled leader in the Yankee Clubhouse. While not as outspoken as many of his critics would like him to be, he leads by example. He certainly knows about and masterfully exploits the give-and-take surrounding the Yanks and the hyper-sensitive media. This is, in a way, the first real crack we’ve seen in Derek’s armor, and I applaud it.
At some point, the media is going to have to acknowledge its role in the steroid scandal through something other than misguided righteous indignation. These reporters were in the clubhouse every day; they saw the players; they must have known something about what was going on. Yet, none of them bothered to pursue the story ten years ago. So they resort to over-the-top coverage and attempt to sow dissent among the Yanks, the Giants, whichever player tests positive today.
Derek is right to take these reporters to task, and he’s doing today exactly what a captain should be doing. He’s protecting his teammates from what has turned out to be a rather vicious media machine. I certainly don’t expect the press to kowtow to baseball players. I’m a firm believer in the First Amendment and feel that a healthy press is a vital to the American democracy. But at some point, these reporters need a lecture like the one Derek gave yesterday. Good for him.