Sunday, March 11, 2007

A-Rod-Jeter, Oh the Drama

-Originally published on 3/4/2007-

Before even discussing the topic at hand, I think it merits mention that in late February, in a city with 5 professional teams in-season, that baseball, particularly the Yankees, grab the back page headlines almost day in and day out without any on field news to report. With that said, the story of A-Rod and Jeter’s fractured friendship officially going public is great drama.

This is not exactly breaking news, recall the Jeter stare down after the missed pop fly last season and the many passes Jeter has made when he has the opportunity to defend or encourage A-Rod among other things, but it’s the first time it has been publicly commented on by either party. Pretty much true to their public persona’s, Rodriguez was candid in speaking about the fact that he and Jeter are no longer buddy, buddy like they were as emerging stars a decade ago, while Jeter played it closer to the vest in stating that while the relationship has changed it is still fine and also making it clear this would be the last of his comments on this subject.

From my perspective, Jeter is exactly right when he said that lots of relationships he has have changed over the last 10 years. That’s something you and I can relate to. I’m not best friends with the same people. I don’t even talk to the same people. And A-Rod has to be kidding when he talks about no longer having sleepovers or going for dinner every night. The guy is married with a kid. Not many fathers I know are out sleeping at their friends houses. I know that was not his point, but it exhibits how ridiculous some of these comments are.

What does all the mean on the field? Absolutely nothing! This is by no means an excuse for A-Rod’s pathetic postseason performances or inability to live up to expectations in NY. Nor will this cause any issues for the Yankees going forward. First off, baseball is not the type of sport where teammates have to pass to each other or block for one another, and second both of these guys just want to win in the end and can probably care less who they play with.

My only concern is A-Rod’s psyche. He has shown the ability to easily get rattled and show his frustrations. One interesting thing to watch is the impact of Doug Mientkiewicz, an old friend and high school teammate of Rodriguez. It will only help to have a shoulder to lean on during the tough times, the shoulder many thought Jeter should lend but didn’t. If Mientkiewicz can help A-Rod keep his head on straight, that would probably be his biggest contribution to this team.


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