It’s funny how some things work out. As I was searching for a suitable picture of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, I found that the first Google hit for jeter arod is a story from 2004 about the how the friendship between the two stars remained in place but had cooled in the then three years since this infamous Esquire article.
Funny, I could swear that is nearly the exact same story as the one developing this week about A-Rod’s comments and Jeter’s response. Are the reporters in Tampa really that hard up for news?
Let’s be honest: It is unreasonable to expect that 25 guys on a baseball team will be best friends. I know this from experience. For ten years, I played on numerous teams. I played on after-school teams, summer teams and high school baseball teams. There were plenty of guys with whom I was friends and with whom I’m still friends nearly six years after my last game, but there were also plenty of guys about which I could care less. That’s all part of being thrown together into a situation with people who start out as complete strangers.
But when we stepped into the dugout, it didn’t matter who we ate lunch with in the cafeteria, how well we did or didn’t do in classes and what our weekend plans were. It didn’t matter if we were best friends, passing acquaintances or bitter enemies. We played baseball as a team. We were on the field to win, and we worked hard together to achieve that goal. We put aside our differences, sucked up our past problems and played to win.
That’s exactly what Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have to do now.
It’s clear that these two stars aren’t exactly best buddies. While the staid Chad Curtis once called out Jeter because of his friendship with Rodriguez, those days are long gone. That fateful Esquire interview in April of 2001 drove that nail deep into the coffin.
But that was six years ago, three of which the two superstars have spent on the same team. It’s time for these men to put aside their differences and support each other on the field.
I’m going to lay the blame for this soap opera squarely on the shoulders of the usually untouchable Yankee Captain. Last season, Jeter, who has publicly supported the oft-beleaguered Jason Giambi over the years, refused to come to Alex Rodriguez’s support. It’s not his business, Derek said, who the fans cheer on and who they boo.
Well, as captain of the Yankees, it’s certainly his business to lead the team and stand up for his teammates. If that means sticking his neck out for the psychologically fragile Alex Rodriguez, so be it. If his words would help the team, then Derek must deliver.
(Image of Derek and Alex getting along from Scout.com)