Alex Rodriguez’s on-again, off-again relationship with Derek Jeter was back in the spotlight during ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball simulcast, when the two former New York Yankees teammates shared a hug and said they ended their feud with “lots of cocktails.”
The two had been friends and rivals when Rodriguez was a member of the Seattle Mariners in the late 1990s, and were often compared as budding All-Star shortstops. That all changed when Rodriguez was asked about Jeter by Esquire in 2001 and seemed to belittle him by praising other Yankees for the team’s success, rather than his friend.
On Sunday, while promoting his self-produced autobiographical docuseries The Captain alongside Kay and Rodriguez, Jeter appeared to put the spit in the rearview mirror: “You move on, you learn.”
Longtime Yankees announcer Michael Kay (left) with Alex Rodriguez (center) and Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez’s on-again, off-again relationship with Derek Jeter was back in the spotlight during ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball simulcast, when the two former New York Yankees teammates shared a hug and said they ended their feud with “lots of cocktails.” The interview started warmly, with Jeter walking on set during Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game and hugging A-Rod
The interview started off warmly, with Jeter walking on set during Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game and hugging A-Rod.
Kay, who works with Rodriguez on ESPN and has known Jeter for decades, began by asking, “Are you okay?”
“Everyone asks me ‘What’s going to happen if they’re in the same room together?’ Kaa continued.
Jeter made fun of Kay by comparing him to 1980s talk show host Phil Donahue.
Although the famed Jeter was tight-lipped, he was less affectionate, but Rodriguez offered “something I’ve never told you before.” In particular, the former first overall design pick said he had his “regrets” about how the relationship turned sour.
“If you’re talking about responsibility,” Rodriguez began, “in my career, one of the highest, best moments of my career, and one of the lowest, has been number 1, I really enjoyed playing with you , learned so much from you, your leadership – 2009 was incredible and i think one of the great moments, i think, of both of our careers.
“One of my biggest regrets — a lot of it is because of my craziness and all the mistakes I’ve made on and off the field — my regret is, I wish we were as close as we were when we were teenagers in Seattle, when we played.
“I think 2009 will still be the pinnacle, but I regret that.
The two chatted, with Rodriguez saying he’d had “a lot of cocktails.”
Jeter then revealed that the two had recently met and discussed their issues.
“We’ve talked about it,” Jeter said. “When you come up as a 20-year-old, 21-year-old, I think we’re all professional athletes, Major League Baseball players, you’re trying to find your place. You get a feel for the competition, you get a sense of being a public persona for the first time. There are many things that you have to deal with, and we have had to process a lot when we were growing up at a very, very young age.
“We’ve talked about it before,” Jeter continued. “This isn’t the first time I’ve seen him. We got together, what was it, about a month and a half ago? And [we] had some conversations.’
Jeter then referred to the passing of his former teammate and longtime friend, Gerald Williams.
“Things happen in life,” Jeter continued. ‘[I] lost one of my best friends in Williams [to cancer in February] and you realize that life is short. You no longer hold a grudge and move on.’
Jeter also shared some compliments about Rodriguez, the player.
“He could do it all,” Jeter said. ‘I don’t know how else to describe it: beaten, beaten for mediocrity, beaten for strength, bases stolen, defense played, strong arm, good runner. He could do pretty much anything you could want a baseball player to do.
“That’s why the baseball world naturally fell in love with Alex when he emerged.”
Jeter also spoke about their battered friendship in “The Captain.”
Sunday’s encounter was a departure from The Captain, in which Jeter admits Rodriguez is “not a real friend.”
Jeter, 48, pointed to the decades-old Esquire profile of Rodriguez, who at the time had just left the Seattle Mariners to sign a record $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
Until then, the two shortstops were often compared, after debuting in consecutive seasons in the mid-1990s and receiving immediate acclaim. Rather than rivalry, the two All-Stars quickly became friends, socializing and occasionally crashing into each other’s apartments.
That all changed when Rodriguez was asked about Jeter by Esquire in 2001, at which point the former had already won four World Series titles to the nil of the latter.
“Jeter is blessed with a lot of talent around him,” Rodriguez said, crediting the Yankees’ power hitters for the team’s success.
“So he never had to lead. He doesn’t have to, he can just play and have fun, and get second. I mean, you know, hitting second is totally different from getting third or fourth in a lineup because you’re going into New York to stop Bernie [Williams] and [Paul] O’Neill and everyone. You never say, “Don’t let Derek beat you.” That’s never your concern.’
Rodriguez described their relationship as a “brotherhood” at the time, adding that “there is absolutely no rivalry.”
“With Derek, I’m his biggest fan and I think it’s the other way around,” said Rodriguez.
Jeter and Rodriguez became famous teammates in New York in 2004 and eventually won a title together in 2009. But as Jeter explained in the ESPN documentaries, that 2001 Esquire piece changed their relationship irrevocably.
“Those comments bothered me because, like I said, I’m very, very loyal,” Jeter told ESPN. “As a friend, I am loyal. I just saw it as, ‘I wouldn’t have done it.’ And then it was the media. The constant hammer on the nail. They just kept hammering on it. It just became noise, which frustrated me. Just constant noise.
‘As a player you can say what you want, that’s fine, but then it’s about trust and loyalty again. This is how the guy feels, he’s not a real friend, that’s how I felt. Because I wouldn’t do it to a friend.’
At the time, Jeter claimed he and Rodriguez remained friends, despite the comments.
“Not at all,” Jeter said when asked by ESPN Radio in 2001 if he was bothered by Rodriguez’s comments. ‘I’ve known him for a long time. It obviously didn’t come out right, what he supposedly said, but he said his intentions weren’t bad, so that’s how I look at it.
“We’re close,” added Jeter. “Obviously we don’t spend much time together because we’re in different cities, but he’s a good friend of mine.”
Rodriguez said he apologized to Jeter for the comments, but also defended the 21-year-old citation to ESPN.
“When that came out, I felt really bad about it,” A-Rod said in The Captain. ‘I saw how it played out. As it was written, I said absolutely exactly what I said. It was a comment I stand behind today. It was a complete tsunami. It was one of the best teams ever. To say that you don’t have to focus on one player is completely correct.’
Rodriguez compared Jeter’s situation in New York to his in Seattle, where he was surrounded by a future Hall of Famer in Ken Griffey Jr. and All-Stars like Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner.
“By the way, the same can be said about my team at the Mariners,” Rodriguez continued. “We had Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner. If someone were to say that about me, I’d say, ‘No s***. Absolute. You better not worry about me alone.’
Rodriguez told ESPN that the comment was aimed at explaining the depth of the Yankees’ lineup at the time.
“As it was written, I absolutely said exactly what I said. Again, I think it was a comment I stand behind today. It was a complete tsunami — [the Yankees were] one of the best teams ever – and to say you don’t have to focus on one player is completely fair to me,” explained Rodriguez.
“I apologized and said, ‘Look, I feel like you guys have a tsunami, it’s a great team, they didn’t say it would hurt you or punish you or belittle you in any way. ‘
Jeter said he “believed” Rodriguez’s apology and thought it was “very sincere,” although he said there was another incident a year earlier where he felt A-Rod disparaged him.
Rodriguez appeared on The Dan Patrick Show in 2000, saying he didn’t think Jeter would be the one to break his then-record 10-year $252 million deal with the Rangers because “he just doesn’t do the power figures and defensively he does.” not all those things.’
Jeter explained in the documentary: “The interview with Dan Patrick, he talked about a comparison between me and him on the field. I think he got his contract, so you’re trying to downplay what I’m doing, perhaps to justify why you got paid?’
Jeter added that his stats “never compared to Alex’s,” adding: “I’m not blind. I understand. But we won.’
Although Rodriguez has since admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs between 2001 and 2003, and was later suspended for steroid use before the 2014 season, his statistics dwarf Jeter’s.
While A-Rod finished his career with 696 home runs (fourth all-time), a .295 batting average and a monstrous .550 slugging percentage, Jeter had an impressive .310 average with much less power (260 home runs and a .440 slugging). . percentage).
However, Jeter helped the Yankees to their first World Series win in 18 years in 1996, and would go on to win three in a row from 1998 to 2000 before teaming up with A-Rod for another title in 2009.
Rodriguez admitted to being in Jeter’s “circle of trust” early on, but the things he said that Jeter didn’t like “broke trust.”
“And I don’t think it was the same from then on. i think it is [me] really don’t understand how things work,” admitted Rodriguez.
“In many ways, my dad left when I was 10, didn’t get that school at home, the hard love, it resulted in insecurity, some self-confidence issues and as I got older I realized you just have to be yourself, he added.
Jeter added that they were both young and made mistakes, but he added: “I will still be cordial. But you crossed the line and I won’t let you in again.’