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(suspenseful music)
- [Narrator] Here are Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter
in the 90s.
They were opponents but loved each other so much
that it bothered their teammates.
Here are Rodriguez and Jeter in 2017,
so uncomfortable that sitting
through an interview together is a chore.
What happened to this close friendship
and what replaced it?
Was it beef?
(suspenseful music)
It was the furthest thing from beef at the outset.
Jeter had just been drafted by the Yankees
when a starstruck Rodriguez, still in high school, met him
at a college baseball game in 1993.
Rodriguez was drafted that year by the Mariners
and thereupon began the blossoming.
Their careers blossomed
as they worked their way into the Majors.
In 1996, Jeter became Rookie of the Year
and helped the Yankees win their first World Series
since the 70s.
A-Rod became an All-Star, MLB Batting Champion,
and AL MVP runner-up,
but his Seattle team fell short of the postseason,
and their friendship blossomed.
A-Rod and Jeter would sleep at each other's homes
when their teams played
and were so chummy during Mariners-Yankees games
that teammates would tease them about it.
In fact, Jeter got publicly chastised
by teammate, Chad Curtis, for goofing off
with the opposing A-Rod
during a Yankees-Mariners brawl in 1999.
But the two were inseparable.
They were the cover boys in a 1997 Sports Illustrated
about MLB's great young shortstops,
and, well, I can't mention that
without showing you the famous shirtless shortstops photo
on the inside.
I didn't expense this magazine, for the record.
This is coming home with me.
(upbeat instrumental) So, things were going great,
but an interesting dynamic was forming,
a familiar one in the beef history universe.
A-Rod was better at baseball.
He managed to stand out even in lineups featuring monsters
like Ken Griffey, Jr., Jay Buhner, and Edgar Martinez,
but the Mariners lacked pitching
outside of Randy Johnson and never went far,
and A-Rod's national popularity
perhaps lagged behind his individual excellence.
Jeter was much more famous.
He was young and good-looking in New York
which got him more attention from fans
and press and Mariah Carey.
Jeter's numbers were quite good in their own right,
and he was part of a historically dominant Yankees team
that won the World Series again in 1998
and then in 1999 and 2000 as well.
They made that last World Series
by defeating A-Rod's Mariners in the ALCS,
and they were definitely A-Rod's Mariners at that point,
having traded both Johnson and Griffey in the years prior.
A-Rod was unbelievable in that series,
and Jeter wasn't much worse.
The Yankees won and Jetes went on to be World Series MVP.
Rodriguez became a free agent that winter,
and the Yankees had interest in his services,
though they'd want him to move to third base
since Jeter had shortstop locked down.
A-Rod said nah, he'd rather beat the Yankees
than be a Yankee.
They've already won enough.
But Rodriguez did flirt with the crosstown rival
the Yankees had just vanquished in that World Series.
Super agent, Scott Boras, came to the New York Mets
not only looking for a massive contract
but for big market perks and fame surpassing Jeter's.
A-Rod wanted his own office and marketing team,
billboards galore, access to a private jet, and so forth.
The Mets said nah, man, nevermind.
A-Rod wound up with the lowly Texas Rangers,
signing what was, at that point,
the richest pro sports contract ever,
252 million dollars over ten years.
With much less fanfare, Jeter was in the process
of negotiating a new longterm deal to stay in New York,
and the newly mega-rich A-Rod had some thoughts.
On ESPN Radio, in December 2000, Rodriguez speculated who,
if anyone, might match his record salary
and ruled out his pal, Jeter.
He didn't have the power numbers,
didn't do the same stuff defensively.
Rodriguez even threw out some guesses on the money
for which Jeter would eventually sign,
and the papers noticed.
Jeter dismissed the comments.
He wasn't trying to break salary records.
He was trying to break championship records.
Doesn't mean he wasn't getting paid though.
In February, Jeter agreed to stay with the Yankees
on a ten year, 189 million dollar deal.
While finalizing baseball's second largest contract,
he simply stated, "I don't play for money.
"I play to win. Everybody makes good money."
Man, I wish I was good at sports.
So now both friends were making yacht loads of cash,
but Alex wasn't done talking.
Esquire gave Rodriguez a big profile
that ran around the start of the '01 season.
Jeter's name came up a few times.
He came up when Rodriguez grumbled about how sportswriters,
like Mike Lupica, rank Jeter "way up there,"
while painting himself as a "dickhead,"
and Jeter came up again when, provoked a bit by Boras,
Rodriguez said Derek had "been blessed with great talent
"around him," never really "had to lead,"
and was never the main "concern" in a killer Yankees lineup.
All fair points, but maybe not the coolest thing to say
to the national media about your best friend.
As soon as the article published,
Jeter was ambushed by reporters at spring training.
He told them he would have to chat with A-Rod
about his intentions in saying stuff like that.
Rodriguez, who was privately flabbergasted
at how he came off in the article,
insisted the comments were taken out of context
and he would never dog his friend like that.
He even enlisted the article's author, Scott Raab,
to fax Jeter an apology to which he got no reply.
Rodriguez realized the blame would fall on him
and drove from Rangers spring training
to Jeter's house in Tampa to ask forgiveness.
Jeter was dining out at the time
and supposedly prolonged his meal
to delay the confrontation as long as possible.
The next day Jeter reportedly looked miffed
and still said he was confused about the whole incident
but told media that he and Rodriguez had talked,
he'd given his friend the benefit of the doubt,
they'd stay friends, and he had a feeling Alex was done
running his mouth like that.
So, not exactly forgiveness,
but Jeter wanted more than anything to stop talking
about stuff that wasn't baseball.
This will be a theme.
And that did put a stop to things.
A-Rod said he loved his friend,
and he was indeed done talking about him.
In his next game at Yankee Stadium, Rodriguez got booed
and then he homered to help the Rangers to a rare victory.
And the interactions between the two at the All-Star Game
were only noteworthy because Alex introduced Derek
to pop star, Joy Enriquez, his date for the occasion,
and she ended up Derek's girlfriend.
After that taste of beef,
a little slider, an empanada, perhaps,
things had quieted down
and they stayed that way for a few years.
Jeter's Yankees hit their version of a drought,
losing the World Series in 2001 and 2003
and failing to make it that far at all in 2002.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez was putting up MVP numbers
over in Texas, but the Rangers spent the whole time losing.
After another crappy season in 2003,
Texas realized paying one dude a gajillion dollars
wasn't worth it if they were just gonna lose all the time,
so they tried to trade Rodriguez to the Red Sox
in a big, complicated deal that would have changed
the parameters of his contract
and netted the Rangers Manny Ramirez and Jon Lester.
It would've been a big deal,
but the Players' Union shot it down
because they didn't want Rodriguez voluntarily diminishing
the value of his contract like that.
Texas was now ready to move on with A-Rod,
but then the Yankees came calling by surprise.
The Yankees were loath to mess with Jeter's role
even with a better shortstop available,
but they did have a hole at third base
after Aaron Boone suffered a freak off-season injury.
So what about A-Rod joining the Yankees
and shifting over a position.
Kind of weird, but Rodriguez wanted to get the hell out
of Texas and a deal was done.
The best shortstop in baseball was now a Yankee,
but he wasn't playing shortstop,
and the guy who was playing shortstop
maybe still had a grudge against him.
The ensuing press conference,
in which a kind of glum looking Jeter dressed A-Rod
in his pinstripes, was fittingly awkward,
but the two of them were saying the right things,
and Rodriguez took his move to third base in stride.
Both players knew their relationship
would be under scrutiny.
Jeter claimed the worst thing that could happen
for the local media would be
for him and Rodriguez to get along.
Rodriguez joked that paparazzi would have
to see them holding hands and going to a movie
to declare any beef dead.
Jeter, ever wary of drama, tried to downplay any discomfort
at spring training, no problems, let it go, it's over.
Rodriguez also said any feud was behind them,
but he was characteristically more candid.
He revealed to the public that drive he'd taken
to Jeter's house for forgiveness in 2001,
and he acknowledged that friends,
who had one been tied at the hip,
didn't have the same relationship anymore.
Those were the kind of statements
that would keep the media spotlight
on the two of them, intentionally or not,
and definitely annoy Jeter.
Throughout that first season,
the two of them were careful not to betray any tension
and things mostly quieted down,
but Rodriguez had some dramatic moments
on the field against the rival Red Sox.
In July, he provoked a huge brawl at Fenway.
In October, he was arguably the face
of the Yankees historic ALCS collapse against Boston.
He batted two for 17 during New York's losses
in games four through seven.
That included the bizarre moment in Game Six when,
instead of simply running out the weak grounder he hit
with Jeter on first, A-Rod slapped the ball
out of Bronson Arroyo's glove,
screwing up New York's momentum that inning
and generating a controversy that lasted
well after Boston's eventual World Series victory.
Noted asshole, Curt Schilling, drew unfavorable comparisons
between A-Rod's lack of composure and Jeter's class.
Months later, Trot Nixon said Rodriguez "couldn't stand up
"to Jeter" or some other longtime Yankee greats.
Kevin Millar joined in, too.
The Red Sox deliberately and repeatedly
used Jeter's name to pick on A-Rod.
Jeter, naturally, was asked about those comments
but refused to stick up for his teammate.
That was really the shape of this relationship
for a few years.
A-Rod generating stories,
and Jeter trying so, so hard to avoid them.
(upbeat music) The two never went directly at each other,
at least not openly.
There was a flimsy rumor that they'd physically fought
after a throwing error in a 2005 loss to Tampa,
but the Yankees shot that down hard.
The signs of tension came from
indirect, passive aggressive acts,
like, in 2006, when Yankee fans booed a slumping Rodriguez,
Jeter kind of shrugged off any responsibility to stop them.
When A-Rod briefly broke that slump,
with a game-winning homer, Jeter didn't project enthusiasm.
He didn't even wanna talk about it.
He was just like, "Ask him how he feels...
"Hopefully this gets him going."
Later that year, when former Yankee, Darryl Strawberry,
suggested Jeter ought to support Rodriguez more,
he was like what do you want me to do?
But it's hard to distance yourself from A-Rod drama
when you stand ten yards away from him every game.
In August 2006, the Yankees were getting crushed
by the Orioles, and a routine pop-up
brought the two old friends together.
Jeter stared two holes through the back of A-Rod's head
and didn't even go grab the ball.
Both players tried to dismiss the moment
as a meaningless mishap, but New York management had enough.
Yankees manager, Joe Torre, gave his players a talking-to,
GM, Brian Cashman, pleaded with Jeter
to fix his body language,
and hitting coach, Don Mattingly, who had hated teammate,
Wade Boggs, when they were both Yankees, told Jeter,
"I faked it with Boggs... You have to fake it with Alex."
Cashman said the same thing,
just "fake it," pretend to be supportive.
But Rodriguez kept making it difficult.
(suspenseful music) He hit so terribly in the '06 playoffs
that Torre slid him to eighth in the lineup.
At spring training the following season,
A-Rod said he was a "big boy."
He didn't need support.
And he admitted that he and Jeter, once blood brothers,
didn't have as great a relationship as they used to,
but it was no big deal, and with that out there,
he requested that media stop asking about Jeter,
so he could stop lying and saying they were still cool.
Jeter, publicly, said he didn't have a rift with Rodriguez,
and it didn't matter anyway,
but he also implied that he resented how A-Rod was talking
about personal, non-baseball stuff out in the open,
and privately was like, "Why doesn't he just shut up?"
But shutting up just wasn't A-Rod's thing.
That season he generated another controversy
by shouting at Blue Jays third baseman, Howie Clark,
causing him to let a pop-up drop.
Joe Torre publicly scolded A-Rod
for yet another childish, impulsive act,
something everyone knew he'd never have done to Jeter.
Of course, Jeter never needed that kind of scolding.
He was the homegrown, attention-dodging, man of the people,
class act with a fistful of rings,
not the dramatic, me first, carpetbagger
who brought no further glory to a city accustomed to it.
A-Rod also won his second MVP as a Yankee that season but...
(upbeat instrumental) Torre left that off-season,
and after a typically rocky public negotiation,
A-Rod re-upped with another gigantic Yankees contract.
In 2008, the Yankees missed the playoffs
for the first time in Jeter's career,
and in 2009, things got worse.
Writing for Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts reported
that Rodriguez had tested positive for steroids years prior.
A-Rod admitted the fact in a press conference
attended by his distraught looking teammates.
Jeter professed support for his teammate,
- You know as teammates we can help him out,
you know, realize it's gonna be difficult,
you know, our job is to try to support him
as he tries to get back on the field.
- [Narrator] But said he cheated himself
and lamented that another individual mistake
would reflect poorly on the League's many nonusing players.
- I can't emphasize it enough.
Everybody wasn't doin' it.
- [Narrator] It was yet another episode of Jeter feeling
like he had to answer for controversy generated
by his former best friend, and then A-Rod got hurt,
missing the first month of the '09 season
recovering from hip surgery.
He had relationship controversy swirling,
a steroid scandal, and now, an injury to recover from.
This was his low point, and it might have been the
best possible thing for his working partnership with Jeter.
Rodriguez returned from injury with a bang,
homering on the first pitch he saw,
then helping completely turn around a team
that had been losing without him.
Perhaps just as important, he returned a changed man
in Jeter's eyes, humbler, more focused, better teammate.
The rest of that season was a parade of joyful moments.
Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's Yankee hit record in September,
and there was A-Rod, gleefully congratulating him.
Both players dominated the ALDS against the Twins
and reveled in each other's excellence.
Then they were seen dining together
with their famous girlfriends to celebrate.
The two went on to lead New York to a World Series win
and their renewed friendship only grew from there.
Each faced separate drama before retiring,
but together, they'd earned a ring.
Feud over... Or is it?
In 2011, Ian O'Connor released The Captain,
a biography of Jeter that details many of the stories
I just told you, and so, so much more
about Jeter's private animosity for his onetime best friend.
Jeter publicly disavowed the book,
and A-Rod never really acknowledged it,
but it definitely rekindled the idea of Rodriguez
as a selfish diva craving validation
and Jeter as a fortunate curmudgeon unwilling to help him.
And the post-book years have seemed icy.
New York Magazine profiled Jeter in 2014,
and, when prompted to talk about A-Rod,
Jeter shut down that whole line of questioning.
When A-Rod finally retired in 2016, Jeter reached out
and didn't hear back promptly from Rodriguez
who said his inbox was full.
And then there's this.
Both players attended a big charity event in 2017.
Both agreed to a CNBC interview,
and then both realized, with great discomfort,
they'd be interviewed together
and asked about their relationship.
Their responses were all deflections,
and they were so awkward.
- This is a treat to see you two together.
Now since you've both hung up the jersey,
you guys are friends now, is that what's goin' on?
- Shortstop, third base,
it's exactly how we were back in the day. (laughs)
- [Anchor] Just together, right? Both of ya?
- Yep.
- Side by side.
- But you greeted each other warmly.
The press made a little thing
about the back and forth between you two.
Was that real or serious ever?
- I think we're hitting up stories from
about twenty years ago, huh?
- (laughs) There's the history channel.
- Yeah, that's what we're doing.
- [Narrator] Afterward, Jeter was reportedly
"beside himself angry" about the interview
in which he was also grilled
about potentially buying the Marlins.
That same month, A-Rod was one of the few Yankee teammates
absent at Jeter's jersey retirement.
He claimed to have been elsewhere with his mom
since it was Mother's Day but didn't quite answer
whether or not he'd been invited
to the event in the first place.
And that's about where things stand.
As their post-playing careers continue,
A-Rod and Jeter will praise each other publicly,
but the air between them still seems frosty.
And how could it not be?
When they were young and new and unsullied
by fame and fortune, it was easy to be friends,
but their reputations diverged almost to opposite poles,
and it rankled Rodriguez enough
that he said some things he could never take back.
A-Rod's career got messier
while Jeter worked very hard to keep his quiet.
But then they became teammates
in a massive media market and even the slightest crackling
between those two opposite personas
was magnified for everyone to see.
If anything, this Beef History is one of triumph,
of estranged friends and foils
who went through a lot of crap
before finding a way to win together.
But perhaps a World Series victory isn't enough.
It may be a long time before Alex Rodriguez
and Derek Jeter fully unpack their past,
let alone get over it, but once they do,
I think they'll find that, however privately,
however intermittently, they've had quite a bit of beef.
Thank you so much for delighting in my beef.
If you wanna learn more about Jeter and the Yankees
and the '01 World Series, here's an episode rewinder.
Or if you're just here for beef, here's an episode
about an old school Yankees-Red Sox feud.


Alex Rodriguez和Jeter的關係變化 (Alex Rodriguez ruined his friendship with Derek Jeter ... and then they became teammates)

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Pedroli Li 發佈於 2020 年 2 月 20 日
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