Derek Jeter is the cover guy for April's GQ magazine. And even though the article about him is written by Seth Mnookin, a writer known as a rabid Red Sox fan and author, the article is fairly gushing in the Jeter praise. I have to say that it does make me chuckle how the very same fan base who used to yell out "Nomar's better" (and wear all sorts of offensive t-shirts about Jeter) now have decided that Jeter is the only acceptable Yankee.
But I digress. What I find interesting in the article is that Mnookin discovers several tidbits that, if they were about anybody else, would lead to a negative impression of the person. But in this article, they just add up to showing how awesome Jeter is.
Mnookin writes that "part of the reason that he's so lionized is that in the cloistered world of professional sports, an athlete whose image matches his actual day-to-day life is almost unthinkable." But then the writer goes into great detail about what a control freak Jeter is on making sure that this image stays pristine. Which is certainly understandable, but doesn't really fit with the way we've been told by the media for the past 15 years about how Derek doesn't care what anybody says about him. You know, the same way we've been told about how the Core Four was so close, when the article reveals that Jeter worked out instead of watching Andy Pettitte's farewell press conference on TV.
Anyhow, here are some examples:
* A freelance writer writing an article for the New York Times had his tape recorder with him when Jeter was "joking around" with some other players in the locker room, and Jeter apparently noticed the tape recorder's presence. Mnookin writes that "later that night, the reporter was buttonholed by a Yankees PR staffer and one of the team's security guards. When the reporter tried to apologize to Jeter for any misunderstanding, he says, Jeter refused to acknowledge that anything had happened in the first place."
* Ian O'Connor's new book on the captain says that when Jeter threw a party, he had everybody hand in their cameras and cell phones for the night so he wouldn't get photographed.
* When Jeter would go to the club with a woman, he'd have them enter and leave separately. Mnookin describes this as happening "earlier in his career," but it's really pre-Minka Kelly. TMZ caught him doing this in 2008.
Look, I get that Jeter wants to protect his privacy. It makes sense in this gossipy media world. But we all know that these anecdotes would have much more negative taint to them if, oh, I don't know, they were about Alex Rodriguez or Roger Clemens or something. Can you imagine the headlines if A-Rod got a security guard to "buttonhole" a reporter? Just saying.
What do you think? Tell us about it!