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New Book coming out portraying Derek Jeter as less-than-Captainy

Apr 25, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers, Game 6 Getty Images

Derek Jeter has been pretty much untouchable from a P.R. perspective for his entire career. Rarely have there been stories portraying him in a bad light and, even when there was something to chew on, it was never anything that stuck to him (quick: if A-Rod had issues with his taxes like Jeter did, how many stories would have been written about it?).

That has changed somewhat since last year. Part of it was because of his surprisingly contentious contract negotiation with the Yankees. A lot of it has simply been a function of him not being the same player he was in his prime.  Even the most seemingly bullet proof public figures take some shots eventually, because that’s just how it works.  It’s simply Jeter’s turn, I suppose.

The biggest shot is coming next month. ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor has written a book about him called “The Captain.” It focuses on Jeter’s relationship with Alex Rodriguez and, if the teaser in yesterday’s New York Post is any indication, it will not be a flattering portrayal:

“The Captain,” by sportswriter Ian O’Connor, out next month, chronicles the bond between the Yankee stars — a soap-opera saga filled with power and betrayal — from their days as rookies playing for different teams but as close as brothers, to their icy co-existence in The Bronx. Jeter’s unyielding insistence on loyalty and his dislike for A-Rod during the third baseman’s early years in pinstripes was so legendary that one Yankee official admitted he was too scared to talk to Jeter about making amends with his teammate.

According to O’Connor’s account, Jeter seemingly went out of his way to maintain his grudge against Alex Rodriguez over the latter’s less-than-flattering comments about Jeter back when he played in Texas (that whole “he’s never had to lead” stuff from a GQ article). That, rather than swallow his ego and lead, he was actually a primary reason why the Yankees’ clubhouse was so dysfunctional for so long after A-Rod arrived. He could have been the bigger man, set an example for his teammates and helped A-Rod assimilate better but … he didn’t.

I have no idea what to make of this. I’m always wary when unauthorized biographies go too deeply into psychology because, really, if you haven’t at least spoken with the subject about it all, how can you know if what you’re hearing is reliable? And of course, O’Connor has a bit of a history in being a bit heavy handed when it comes to drawing moral and ethical conclusions involving ballplayers. Perhaps like that “The Yankees are better off without A-Rod” story he wrote in the Bergen Record a couple of years ago, O’Connor will disavow and delete this book too. But then again, this may be a case of the Post making the book sound more of a Jeter indictment than it really is. Perhaps it’s just a compilation of clubhouse gossip.

Today Jeter is quoted in the post: “Make sure everyone knows it’s not mine,” Jeter said. “I had nothing to do with that book.”  I suppose that this won’t be the last statement someone affiliated with the Yankees makes about it.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 25, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    ”Make sure everyone knows it’s not mine,” Jeter said. “I had nothing to do with that book.”

    Doesn’t make it untrue. Until it comes out and he denies the things written in it, simply saying this doesn’t say much at all.

  2. williamnyy23 - Apr 25, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    Based on the excerpt, this books seems like nothing more than a rehash of what is already known. Everyone familiar with the Yankees knows Jeter held a grudge for years after the GQ article. It was news about five years ago, but knowing Ian O’Connor, I guess it isn’t a surprise that he is just catching up.

  3. itsacurse - Apr 25, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    Not for nothing, but Ian O’Connor is notoriously negative toward the teams he covers. May I point out this hilariously off-base preseason criticism of the Jets? http://www.northjersey.com/sports/sports_rotator/OConnor_LT_only_makes_the_Jets_weaker.html

    Also, his head shot makes me want to punch my monitor.

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 25, 2011 at 9:56 AM

      How about a little less opining and a little more getting it right. He’s being paid for his opinion, but he won’t be paid by me.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Apr 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    I wish…I wish…I wish….I wish….. this book were written by anyone OTHER than Ian O’Connor.It means it will be filled with self-serving “impressions” that only the truly convoluted mind will ascribe to as being factual.
    Didn’t Selena Roberts tell poor Ian that Yankee Tell-Alls by a third party don’t sell?

  5. smokehouse56 - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    There isn’t a team in the bigs that would not love to have him on their roster. I’ll take Jeter this morning, this afternoon, this evening and tomorrow. I’ll wait to buy the “real” biography. I lived a Yankee fan for 65 years and only recently soured on them when they destroyed old Yankee Stadium. I cried as a youngster when they lost (Dusty Rhoads anyone, Sandy Amoros anyone). Derek Jeter is a Yankee. Period. He would have been a big start on Casey Stengle’s Yankees of the ’50s.I rate him in the top 6 Yankees of all time (Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, Berra, tie, Ford & Jeter), So I don’t want to hear about rumor, inuendo by a sensationalist seeking writer. Give me the real scoop, please. Am I carrying Jeters water? Am I an appoligist for Jeter. You bet I am. With good reason. He is a gamer. A winner. A Captain!

    • ezwriter69 - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      smokehouse, there isn’t another team in baseball that would pay Jeter HALF of what the Yankees are paying him to play shortstop. Not one.

      • bobwsc - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        maybe the Giants, considering what they’re paying Tejada.

    • JBerardi - Apr 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      “There isn’t a team in the bigs that would not love to have him on their roster.”

      Actually I’d say there’s probably 27-29 teams that would not want him on their roster. His contract is an absolute disaster for any team but the Yankees.

    • spudchukar - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      And old and showing it.

    • marinersnate - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:58 AM

      “There isn’t a team in the bigs that would not love to have him on their roster.”

      Now THAT has to be the funniest thing that I have ever read.

  6. BC - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    DiMaggio hated Mantle when he first came to the Yankees. So what’s the big deal here? Two talented players, polar opposite personalities. No news here. Move along. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

    • yankeesfanlen - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      There you are, BC! Ian O’Connor is a ………

      • kinggeorge96 - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:23 AM

        Can I have “Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich” for $1000 Alex?

      • BC - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        CHIPWICH!!!! (Had to get it out there, I feel much better now)

  7. throwstrikes - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Some people in Jeter’s inner circle were interviewed for this book. Did they have Jeter’s blessing to speak with O’Connor or not care if he Derek froze them out like he did to A-Rod.

  8. itsacurse - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Sure, there’s plenty to not like about Jeter if your not a Yankees fan, or even if you are, given his recent GIDP-itis.
    But Ian O’Connor knows the only marketable bits of this book will be the negative ones that try to tarnish Jeter’s legacy. So why write this the year he’s going to get his 3,000th hit, and all his flaws will be forgotten as he’s paraded down the Canyon of Heros, showered in torn up pages of “The Captain”?

  9. paperlions - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    I am always wary of any biography that goes into psychology or reasons for doing anything, but especially wary of authorized biographies. In general, people are not particularly self-aware, and continually re-invent reasons for doing things to paint themselves in a better light….not saying Jeter would do this, just saying that moralizing in any biography (authorized or no) is something about which to be wary.
    .
    I agree with others that there really isn’t anything new here. It has been common knowledge that Jeter has held a grudge and purposefully made ARod’s existence less comfortable than it could have been, people just don’t care because he’s Derek Jeter…and it is kind of hard to blame them for having that opinion.

  10. BC - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    I guess its the society we live in these days. No one (to my knowledge) wrote a book about what an arrogant p—k Joe DiMaggio was, or what a jerk Pete Rose was (well, at least when he was still playing, that sort of came out later, don’t ya think?).

  11. uyf1950 - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    I have to relate the below comment I just read on Jeter on ESPN.com New York. It has nothing to do with the book but I couldn’t stop laughing when I read it. Sorry if it bothers some of you. It’s about Girardi giving Jeter advice to increase his average and get some hits.
    Here is part of the piece.
    Joe Girardi offered the .221-hitting Derek Jeter some advice before Sunday’s game: Stop hitting the ball where the fielders are standing.
    “I just told him, I said, ‘Jeet, you have to find a different place to hit,'” Girardi said. “‘The guy has been standing there for years.'”

    Sometimes the simplest advise is the best, it’s also the funniest.

    • yankeesfanlen - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      “The guy has been standing there for years”
      That’s the most endearing thing Joe has ever said. He brought up his inner Casey Stengel. Hope his nose doesn’t instantly go back into his black book for another 3 years.
      Thanks for the story, ufy.

    • steve keane - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      from the Wee Willie Keeler School of Hitting “Hit ‘em where they ain’t”

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