"Our job is to try to support him as he tries to get back on the field and get ready for the season," Jeter said today in his annual spring-training sitdown with the media.
"But he made a mistake, and that's the bottom line. ... He came out and admitted what he did and now it's time to move on."
He also said:
So far, so good - it's comparable to what he did with teammates Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Andy Pettitte with their controversies regarding performance-enhancing drugs. It's what he should say as the team captain to support his teammate.
"Even when you have family members that make mistakes and do things wrong, you may be disappointed, but you don't lose respect for them and stop pulling for them."
But then Jeter made a few other comments about PEDs that spurred me to write. Derek, or should I call him Rip Van Jeter, finally noticed - in 2009! - that the steroids issue in baseball is hurting the sport. And he complained about being linked to it. He told the media yesterday:
"One thing that's very irritating and upsets me a lot is when you hear everybody say, 'Well, it's the Steroid Era, everybody's doing it. Well, that's not true. Everybody's making a big deal about the list, 104 players. How many players are in the major leagues? 1,200 players? So everybody wasn't doing it."I agree that not everybody was doing steroids, but this quote is a bit much, given that all the players were given a heads-up in 2003 about this steroids test, but 104 players still failed it. Contrary to what Jeter is implying, that doesn't mean only 104 players were using.
Newsday's Wallace Matthews had this followup for the captain:
I asked Jeter yesterday if in retrospect, he had any regrets about not going to the players association, or even the media, with his concerns about drug abuse ruining the game he loves, and more importantly, staining the reputations of its clean players simply by association with the Other Guys.
"In retrospect, I think a lot of people would've maybe tried to do some things differently," he said. "But you can't go back eight, 10 years and change what's already been done."Eight years? Why not go back four months, to when Jeter was seen on national TV hanging out with reported steroid user Roger Clemens on the sidelines of a University of Texas football game and posing for pictures together? I mean, really. Texas Monthly had Clemens as their Bum Steer of the Year, and a Houston hospital removed the Rocket's name from their Sports Medicine wing. And Jeter's still publicly schmoozing with this pariah?
I guess some might see it as admirable for Jeter to be a loyal friend to Roger, but at the time, Derek shouldn't complain about being linked to the Steroid Era when he continues to buddy it up with one of the era's poster boys, especially when they're not even teammates anymore.
And the captain had a bit of a head-in-the-sand approach after the Mitchell Report was released in December 2007, saying about Clemens:
Barry Bonds, another poster boy of the Steroid Era, was never a Jeter teammate, but he also got Derek's support on national TV. In May 2006, the captain Jeter defended Bonds on "The Late Show With David Letterman" and essentially told America to leave Barry Bonds alone:
"Seems like now people are rushing to judgment and I think you have to let it play out a little bit before you make your decision on whether he's guilty or not," Jeter said.
Asked if he stands by Clemens, Jeter said "Yeah. Rocket's always been a great teammate. I've said that time in and time out, that he's a great teammate. I didn't like him too much when I played against him because he has always been very competitive. But he's always been a great teammate."
"The thing is because there's all these (steroid) accusations, and no one knows, so unless you have proof, then stop accusing him. I mean, he's done some great things in the game, he's about to pass Babe Ruth with all-time home runs and, you know, it's putting baseball in a bad light because they keep talking about it."This was after BALCO, and after "Game of Shadows" was released. How much more proof did Jeter need? Not to mention that he essentially claims then that the problem wasn't players doing steroids, but the media talking about it!
When asked yesterday whether Jeter would want the other 103 names of positive steroid testers revealed, he said no:
“What’s that going to do,” he asked. “It’s just going to be another story and another black eye for the sport. I don’t think people should go around and ask everybody if they’re on that list, because it’s supposed to be anonymous....There were a few people in this era taking steroids, but it wasn’t the steroid era,” he said.If Derek really believes that it was just "a few people in this era taking steroids," then denial isn't just a river in Egypt!
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Speaking of the DL, perhaps the only revelation from Joe Torre's "The Yankee Years" that amused me was this one, when Mussina told Tom Verducci this in the spring of 2007:
"Our problem right now is we have too many pitchers on the 15-day Pavano. That's what it's officially called now. Did you know that? The Pavano.
"His body just shut down from actually pitching for six weeks. It's like when you get an organ transplant and your body rejects it. His body rejected pitching. It's not used to it."
Coming later today - my review of "Confessions of a She-Fan." But in the meantime, what do you think about Derek Jeter? Leave us a comment!