The roller-coaster relationship between former New York Yankees teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will soon be relived. An upcoming Jeter-focused documentary entitled The Captain from ESPN will take a look into the tension between the two baseball legends.
In the upcoming seven-part documentary from ESPN (set to debut July 18), Jeter discusses the rift between the two, who had previously been friends early in their baseball careers. According to the New York Post, the Hall of Fame shortstop says the tension dates back to a 2001 interview Rodriguez did with Esquire.
Rodriguez appeared to take a shot at Jeter’s contributions as a member of a highly successful Yankees squad from 1996-2000. Those teams claimed four World Series rings.
“He’s reserved, quiet. Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him. So, he’s never had to lead,” Rodriguez told Esquire two decades ago. “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.”
The comments from Rodriguez didn’t sit well with Jeter back then and still bother him now. He opened up about his teammate’s remarks in the new documentary.
“Those comments bothered me because, like I said, I’m very, very loyal,” Jeter says, per the New York Post. “As a friend, I’m loyal. I just looked at it as, ‘I wouldn’t have done it.’ And then it was the media. The constant hammer to the nail. They just kept hammering it in. It just became noise, which frustrated me. Just constant noise.”
Jeter and Rodriguez weren’t teammates at the time of the comments. However, Rodriguez joined the Jeter-led Yankees from 2004-13, winning a World Series together in 2009.
Were Alex Rodriguez’s Comments on Derek Jeter Contract Related?
Derek Jeter believes the slight tossed his way was Alex Rodriguez’s way of justifying his own mega-contract with the Texas Rangers. At the time of the interview, Rodriguez just signed a 10-year $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
“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.
“But then it goes back to the trust, the loyalty. This is how the guy feels. He’s not a true friend, is how I felt. Because I wouldn’t do it to a friend.”
Though Jeter isn’t a fan of the comments, Rodriguez says he still stands behind them. He does believe, however, that they were taken out of context and were not meant as a slight.
“To say that you don’t have to focus on just one player is totally fair,” Rodriguez said. “By the way, the same could be said about my team with the Mariners. We had Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner. If someone said that about me, I’d be like, ’No s–t. Absolutely. You better not just worry about me.’”