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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Post Publishes Juicy Tidbits From Ian O'Connor's New Book About Jeter/A-Rod Feud

Sorry I haven't squawked for a while -- I have been working on two real-life projects that have consumed almost all of my time. I knew I had better get back to squawking soon when I got this email the other day, with the subject line "Do You Know there are 2 teams in NYC?"  Here's the email:
Hey…do you guys know that there is another team in town. They are called “the Yankees.”

Would think that there is only one team in NYC, to read your blog lately.

What’s the story???
Harsh, dude! Ouch!

Anyhow, on a brighter note, Happy Easter! When I got online this morning and saw that the New York Post had information from Ian O'Connor's upcoming book, "The Captain" (you know, the one that he's been working on at the same time he's been carrying Jeter's water in his columns), I knew I'd better squawk, or some might think I was comatose!

This "exclusive" article has inside details on the feud (although, for some odd reason, the Post calls it an "unauthorized" bio), and has pretty much vindicated a lot of what I've said over the years. Some tidbits:

* Jeter, the modern day Joe DiMaggio in a lot of ways -- including holding grudges -- so intimidated one Yankee front office person who admitted to being afraid to talk to Jeter about burying the hatchet with Alex. "It would've been the last conversation I ever had with Derek," he said. "I would've been dead to him. It would've been like approaching Joe DiMaggio to talk to him about Marilyn Monroe."

* At the 2001 All-Star Game, according to the Post's account of the book, "a smitten Rodriguez introduced him to Latin songstress Joy Enriquez. Jeter wasted no time -- the singer and the shortstop began dating."

* Don Mattingly tried to get Jeter to make up with A-Rod. "I faked it with Boggs," he said. "And you have to fake it with Alex." Heh!

* Brian Cashman also asked Jeter to "fake it" with Rodriguez, after noticing Jeter's lack of defense when it came to other players and fans criticizing the third baseman. "You've got to lead them all, the ones you like and the ones you don't," he told Jeter. He asked Jeter to defend A-Rod to the fans. "I can't tell the fans what to do," Jeter countered. (Of course, Jeter did just that when it came to Jason Giambi and Chuck Knoblauch, although the article doesn't mention that.) I don't know how many times I wrote over the years that the captain's job was to stand up for all of his teammates, not just his buddies. So good for Cashman that he told him the same thing!

Then there's this tidbit:
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 remember that well. And I remember how much grief I got from fans for pointed out that obvious dis. Believe it or not, readers used to argue me all the time when I said it was pretty obvious Jeter couldn't stand A-Rod. But It was pretty clear to me starting with the way Jeter mumbled and grimaced through A-Rod's introductory press conference in 2004 that the Captain didn't want him on the team.

It's funny -- people would tell me over and over how Jeter would do anything to win. Yes, except for making the peace with Rodriguez!

Even though most of the New York media mostly ignored the issue as it was happening, it was pretty clear that there was a huge issue here. And since I was one of the few people anywhere writing about it, I got a lot of "How do you know, you're not in the clubhouse" in response, and people insisting that Jeter would never be so petty. Oh, really?

What's funny is that O'Connor's book, written with the cooperation of the Jeter camp, has such tidbits which reflect so negatively on Jeter (although, to be sure, the information also reflects negatively on Rodriguez, saying that Jeter didn't like A-Rod acting as a diva as a Yankee, and that A-Rod obsessed over Jeter. IMHO, I think A-Rod could have been Mother Teresa as a Yankee, and it wouldn't have made any difference!)

After all, so much of Jeter's mystique has been on his vaunted leadership skills. But instead of embracing getting the best player in baseball at the time for the team, this article makes it clear that Jeter was "less than thrilled" when A-Rod became a Yankee. And that one of the reasons the Yankees gave CC Sabathia $161 million was to mend the clubhouse, From the article:
"CC's main concern was our clubhouse, and how people got along," Cashman told the author. "I told him the truth. 'Yeah, we are broken. One reason we're committing [$161 million] to you is you're a team builder. We need somebody to bring us together.' "
I guess it would have been too much to expect the team's captain to bring the Yankees together, eh?

What do you think? Tell us about it!

6 comments:

The Omnipotent Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Omnipotent Q said...

"Don Mattingly tried to get Jeter to make up with Jeter."

Pretty good trick, Lisa!

Interesting article, and I'm curious about this book.

Lisa Swan said...

Thanks for the correction, Q. I was on my way to church when I saw your note, so I sent an email to Squawker Jon to please fix my mistake. Thanks for catching it!

Lisa Swan said...

Update: What cracks me up is that people in the Twittersphere are flipping out about the book, basically accusing O'Connor of being out to get Jeter. Never mind that Jeter, his family, and friends cooperated with the book. Never mind that O'Connor has shown himself to be solidly in the Team Jeter camp. Just the fact he wrote something that made Jeter looked bad is enough to put him in the hater camp. I highly doubt this book is a hit piece on the captain.

Sunny J said...

I don't get it, Joe Torre stated the same things within his book. Excluding the Jeter/girl vengeance stuff. So what's the big deal. There was no big back lash on Torre. And there are come contradictions on Jeter and his family cooperating on this book. Some say yes and others scream NO they didn't.

Lisa Swan said...

Sunny,

But Torre did get a big backlash over his book, for revealing clubhouse secrets. He didn't get a huge backlash over the Jeter/A-Rod thing per se, though, except for him having to backpedal on the A-Fraud remark.

As for whether O'Connor got help from Jeter, the book's info sez that O'Connor "draws on unique access to Jeter and more than 200 new interviews" of people close to Jeter. It's been promoted as an insider view, not a Kitty Kelley unauthorized bio.