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Friday, October 31, 2014

Yankees Banish Michael Sokolove for Writing About Derek Jeter Getting Old

No human being is immune to old age. There are those who can stave it off longer than others and those who just cannot seem to keep Father Time from creeping up on them, but we all have to face changes as a result of getting old at some point in our lives. For some, that concept is easy to accept. For others, the mere mention of it makes their spine crawl.

Such seems to be the case with Derek Jeter.  No single player has ever done more for their franchise than No. 2.  A sure-fire Hall of Famer, Jeter celebrated his 37th birthday just over a week ago.  He is the captain of the most storied franchise in baseball history, and the face of an era which has been dominated by the men in pinstripes.  For those reasons and many more, it is understandable that Yankee fans and brass are not interested in discussing the downside of their leader’s career.

While people within the Yankees organization would rather not address the fact that Jeter is battling injuries and is nowhere near the player he used to be, the media should be able to.  By that I mean the New York Times Magazine should be able to publish an article about Jeter’s age without being banned from the Yankees clubhouse.

When Michael Sokolove of the NY Times Magazine wrote a lengthy article about Jeter’s career and coping with the reality that the captain is getting old, the Yankees responded by denying him access to the clubhouse.

The prospect of this article did not sit well with the Yankees, or at least elements of its hierarchy. Jason Zillo, the team’s media director, would not grant me access to the Yankees’ clubhouse before games to do interviews. I have been a baseball beat writer, have written two baseball books and have routinely been granted clubhouse credentials for a quarter-century, as just about anyone connected to a reputable publication or broadcast outlet usually is. “We’re not interested in helping you, so why should I let you in?” Zillo said, before further explaining that he views his role as a “gatekeeper” against stories the Yankees would rather not see in print.

While it may be one of the most overused cliches of all-time, the truth hurts.  If the shoe fits…  When in Rome… OK, I’ll stop.

Chest bump to Barstool Sports for the story.



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