Derek Jeter shares when he stopped trusting Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have had a strained relationship for years, and apparently the animosity began well before the two former All-Stars became teammates with the New York Yankees.
Jeter opened up about the issues between him and Rodriguez in Jeter’s ESPN docuseries “The Captain,” which will premiere on July 18. The Hall of Famer said he never trusted Rodriguez after A-Rod made some questionable remarks about Jeter during a 2001 interview with Esquire. There was a popular debate at the time over which player was the better shortstop, and Rodriguez downplayed Jeter’s accomplishments.
“Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him. So, he’s never had to lead,” Rodriguez said at the time. “He doesn’t have to, he can just go and play and have fun, and hit second. I mean, you know, hitting second is totally different than hitting third or fourth in a lineup because you go into New York trying to stop Bernie [Williams] and [Paul] O’Neill and everybody. You never say, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you.’ That’s never your concern.”
Rodriguez later apologized for the way his comments were perceived, but he stood by them. Jeter never moved past it, even after A-Rod was traded to the Yankees in 2004. Jeter said in “The Captain” that the remarks bothered him because he is “very, very loyal.”
“As a friend, I’m loyal. I just looked at it as, ‘I wouldn’t have done it,'” Jeter explained, via US Magazine.
A-Rod had signed a $10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers not long before the Esquire interview. Jeter, who signed a 10-year, $189 million deal with the Yankees after Rodriguez landed his deal, felt A-Rod may have been trying to justify why he was paid so much more than his fellow superstar.
“In my mind, he got his contract, so you’re trying to diminish what I’m doing, maybe to justify why you got paid,” Jeter said. “When you talk about statistics, mine never compared to Alex’s. I’m not blind. I understand that. But we won! You can say whatever you want about me as a player. That’s fine.”
If Jeter has felt that way since 2001, that gives you an idea of how awkward it must have been for him and A-Rod to share a clubhouse for a decade in New York. It also helps explain some of the other rocky moments the two have had since they both retired.
Needless to say, Jeter and Rodriguez will not be spending any holidays together going forward.