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Derek Jeter is the master

Feb 10, 2014, 4:28 PM EST

Derek Jeter Getty Getty Images

Not at baseball. I mean, that’s not news. Of course he’s a master at baseball. First ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest ever. You knew that.  I’m talking about his media game.

Take this story in the New York Daily News. Jeter, once again, being asked about A-Rod stuff. He responds to the questions. He doesn’t cut things off. But, of course, he doesn’t say a word, really. “It is what it is  . . .” “It’s a complicated situation . . .” “We know he’s not here  . . .” a lot of that, but not one thing that is a headline grabber. Not one thing that becomes sports talk radio fodder. Nothing that can be said to be controversial or provocative.

Which is by no means a criticism of Derek Jeter. Indeed, it’s 100% the right thing to do if you’re Derek Jeter because if he says something provocative the dozens of people covering Yankees baseball will beat it up and around and left and right for days. Jeter has never once, in nearly 20 years, given the media the opportunity to do that to him.

His ability to be both cordial yet totally non-controversial when it comes to this sort of thing is just uncanny. I mean, ask yourself: if you spent 20 years responding to people you knew had it in their best interests to get a rise out of you or have you say something silly, how many years could you go without spouting off at them? Without snapping at them? One? Five? Maybe ten? I bet no one could. Jeter has.

I say this with complete and utter sincerity: Jeter’s ability to play in New York as long as he has without ever stepping in it or getting into a dustup is one of the more amazing things about him. It’s highly underrated too. When he retires she should open up an athlete media consulting business charging jocks $10K an hour to team them how not to mess up with the press.

  1. sdelmonte - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    And I think that after he retires, he continues not saying anything. His inevitable book will be cheery and full of interesting little tidbits about playing with X, Y, and Z. And won’t diss anyone and won’t really be newsworthy, either.

    He probably has a lot of strong opinions. I bet his teammates know them. I bet A-Rod knows them. And he is not just smart enough but mature and confident enough to chose his words as carefully as he chooses his bats. It’s a lesson for all of us.

    • bigharold - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      Ironically Jeter gets both praised and criticized for his ability say “nothing” and manage his image. A-Rod on the other hand routinely, as frequently deservedly, gets fricasseed for not filtering his remarks and thus giving people real insight as to who he is.

      But, to answer the question;

      “.. if you spent 20 years responding to people you knew had it in their best interests to get a rise out of you …”

      I wouldn’t last 20 minutes.

      • dexterismyhero - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Good point and I’m not sure when the last time I read “fricasseed” on this site if at all.

        And I would like his book to tell us what it WAS like playing with x, y, and z. I’m not talking about his teammates either!

    • mmeyer3387 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      My praise goes Jeter, but maybe he is to polite. Let me be direct, I’m a fan of the game and I’m sick of hearing about A-Rod. All of you journalist, can we please move on. The game of baseball is bigger than any players or sports journalism. You are making me wonder if you guys are just lazy and A-Rod is a cheap and easy story. MLB hot stove, trades and the start of training camp. A-Rod is old news.

      • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        I guess he won’t be visiting North Korea anytime soon.

  2. cur'68 - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Ah yes. Captain Smoothie Smooth.

  3. jwbiii - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    . . . and sometimes it rains.

    • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      You beat my “the cliches are your friends” by thirty seconds, dammit.

  4. 7mantel - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Jeter’s has always been the example of class !

    • ptfu - Feb 10, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      He’s always got a great example of a lass, too.

  5. raysfan1 - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    I’ve joked on this site before about some players needing to enroll in the “Derek Jeter School of How to Not Offend Anybody Ever.” Only you are right; it does not have to be a joke. He could make good money off of it I’m sure. He is the greatest of all time in handling the media.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      I think that means he’s non-committal — which may be a problem someday if he wants to settle down.

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        not to worry. he’s baseball’s ken doll. he’ll be married on the cover of people magazine

      • genericcommenter - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        The guy can afford to be as picky as he wants when it comes to that. Honestly, I have a hard time seeing any commitment situation that will provide him equal market value.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        What? Dudes make me crazy here.

      • raysfan1 - Feb 10, 2014 at 8:17 PM

        Being publicly noncommittal is generally wise. Not the same as being unable to commit.

    • indaburg - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      I thought Jeter attended the Crash Davis School of Media Relations. School motto: “Of course it’s boring, that’s the point.”

  6. sandwiches4ever - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Especially once you adjust for context, Jeter’s ability to say lots without saying anything is breathtaking.

  7. ras1tafari - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    …bater.

  8. brewcrewfan54 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    I don’t think he can teach people his incredible temperment and self awareness.

    • bigharold - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      I think the self awareness part gets lost on most.

      In today’s selfie, twitter, instagram world there seem to be the notion by some that “my every thought deed and action should be record and broadcast to the world for their amusement and edification.” Perhaps, Jeter realizes that he’s just a MLB player and on most topics his personal opinion is just that, .. personal. If he was teaching math for a living nobody would really care so he seems to understand that the world can do without his feelings or position on every little thing. And, if he were a math teacher he might not get along with every other teacher in the school but that’s no reason to put it in the yearbook for everybody else to see it. I keep my mouth shut at work about guys I think are jackasses because we all have to get along to get the job done.

      I’m not sure who drilled it in his head at a young age to mind his business so as to keep his personal life to himself but I’m glad they did. I don’t need to know every little thing about him. I can be satisfied that he’s made great contributions to the Yankees for so long and did it with grace.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        Agree with all that 100%. Jeter wants to be a baseball player right now and that’s it. Nothing wrong with that. And I don’t see any problem with athletes using social media. Its just the guys who use it wrong ruin it for everyone.

  9. jayquintana - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    How to be a hero: Never say anything controversial. Thus, you’ll be whatever people want you to be.

  10. eber2970 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    When he retires {she} should open up an athlete media consulting business charging jocks $10K an hour to team them how not to mess up with the press…..May want to correct your typo

  11. rje49 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    I was under the impression that all major sports teams provide some training to their players on dealing with the media; like answering without saying anything, showing respect for other team’s players, etc. I mean, most all of them seem to have learned it well. The ones that haven’t make headlines for the wrong reasons, as in making asses of themselves.

  12. watermelon1 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    If I got paid even 1/100th of what Jeter gets paid… Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could play mind games with the media all day every day for 20 years without any complications. Piece of cake.

  13. squatsforpeanutbutter - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Reblogged this on Recovery Via Peanut Butter and commented:
    I love him ugh haha can’t wait for baseball season!

  14. hehateme1 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Derek Jeter needs to retire.

  15. rastaraider - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    10 years ago

  16. frank433 - Feb 10, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    I bet if he slips up and says something interesting, he gives the reporter a gift basket to not quote him.

  17. udub - Feb 11, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    I know I’ll get negativity from this but I’ll go ahead.

    The whole Jeter spent all these years in NY and never gets in any ‘dustup’ line is weak.

    He’s never been in any ‘dustup’ because people love him, the media included. Since the media loves him it slants their coverage which helps forge people’s opinions of him further.

    That’s why him dating celebrities makes him super cool Derek Jeter while another player dating celebrities is attention seeking distractions to the team.

    Same reason why things like getting women a ride home complete with a gift bag of autographed items wasn’t covered more. Just imagine if the same exact story came out. Women coming down to a waiting car to drive them home after a night with the famous ballplayer. Their reward while the player hangs out upstairs in his gigantic NY pad is just a bag with various autographed items of the guy they just spent the night with, never to be heard from again. Same thing that was reported. Same exact thing. BUT…that was a story about A-Rod. Tell me that story would have been reported the same.

    • pastabelly - Feb 11, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      I can’t believe a distinction with Rodgriguez doesn’t work because Rodriguez always came off as aloof and uncomfortable in his own skin, while Jeter has always been comfortable with who he is and how he carries himself. I think that’s the point of the article, along with knowing what not to say.

  18. 950003cups - Feb 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Captain Chilly Chill Chill…
    Captain Cool.
    Surprised it took until 2003 to brand him “El Ca-P-Tan”

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