Hypocrisy Overwhelms Pending Jeter Bio and Initial Reaction to It

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Derek Jeter is a human being. That seems to be the lesson derived from the New York Post’s preview of Ian O’Connor’s forthcoming book about Jeter, which will focus on the Captain’s relationship with Alex Rodriguez.

Arod’s unflattering comments about Jeter in the March 2001 issue of Esquire led to a cooling off period in their friendship.

Weaving Arod into the narrative has almost become a prerequisite for publishing a baseball book, so it’s not surprising that O’Connor would go that route. What is difficult to understand, however, is why so many people seem to be regarding the excerpts as groundbreaking news.

Just about anyone who has followed the Yankees over the past 10 years is well aware of the icy relationship that existed between the two superstars for most of the past decade, so O’Connor’s initial revelations hardly qualify as news. Although the quotes attributed to Brian Cashman aren’t part of the record, most of the other details have been widely reported and discussed.

A common reaction to the New York Post’s predictably sensational presentation of the excerpts has gone something like this: “You see…Jeter isn’t perfect. What’s more, he has been a bad leader all along.” Considering the piling on that the Captain has endured since showing the first signs of succumbing to age, that reaction has pretty much been par for the course. However, that doesn’t give the book’s author, or its readers, a license for hypocrisy.

In a blog post for Newsday, Ken Davidoff epitomizes the hypocrisy that has defined so many people’s reaction when he writes, “The book will help fans get a better read on the real Jeter, as opposed to the myth that has been manufactured throughout the years and to which Jeter happily agreed to spread.”

With all due respect to Davidoff (an excellent beat writer who is only being singled out because he perfectly articulated the sentiment), Jeter can present an image, but it’s really the media that spreads it. When the Yankees’ shortstop was on top of his game, the beat writers and columnists alike had no problem portraying Jeter as the pinnacle of perfection, citing his intangibles and leadership qualities as evidence of what made him a truly winning player. Now, all of a sudden, some of those same scribes are spreading word that Jeter’s image may have just been a façade? Someone is being naïve here.

Jeter and Arod share a light moment during spring training in 2007.

Ironically, O’Connor’s book seems to “humanize” Jeter by turning Alex Rodriguez into a sympathetic figure who was forced to endure the shortstop’s scorn. In addition to being an over dramatization of the adult relationship between two men, that juxtaposition makes O’Connor the biggest hypocrite of them all. After all, only two years ago, O’Connor infamously wrote a scathing diatribe blaming Arod for all of the Yankees’ ills.

In an article entitled “Better Off Without Arod”?, which has since been deleted from the Bergen Record website but preserved by River Avenue Blues, O’Connor clearly implied that Arod was the only thing holding the Yankees back from winning another World Series. Based on that harsh assessment, could you really blame Jeter for holding such a grudge? Unless he is also willing to repudiate his own poor judgment (which Arod already took care of in the 2009 post season), it would be disingenuous for O’Connor to imply any criticism toward Jeter for harboring similar feelings about Rodriguez.

O’Connor has made a name for himself by fanning flames, so his hypocrisy can be dismissed. However, the thousands of fans who took great pleasure in booing Arod don’t deserve the same latitude. In reality, Jeter’s lack of acceptance was the least of Rodriguez’ problems when he joined the Yankees. Rather, what likely stunted his acclimation was the lack of acceptance from a large part of the fan base. If not for all the boos and blame, Jeter wouldn’t have needed to stick up for Arod. So, if any fan out there wants to blame someone for mistreating Arod, they’d better start by looking in the mirror.

9 thoughts on “Hypocrisy Overwhelms Pending Jeter Bio and Initial Reaction to It

  1. Roberto Pollo

    I’m not sure I understand the authors point of view on ARod. Are you saying Yankees fans are wrong to have booed ARod for his failures prior to October 2009?
    … Even after the double play in the 9th Inning of GM 5 against Angels, the bases loaded whiff against Detroit, zilch against Cleveland, Opting out eVen though you’re the highest paid pitcher EVER, lying about steriod use until your caught – and then only admitting for a small period with Texas (more to come from Doctor Gallea in Canada, I’m sure).

    I have cheered AND booed ARod. I’m not a hypocrit.

    • I am saying don’t blame Jeter for not telling the fans not to boo Arod, if you are one of those doing the booing. That’s like a mugger calling out a bystander for not helping the old lady he attacked.

      That aside, yes, I think Yankees fans were wrong to boo Arod because he was not only a great player for the team, but always gave a maximum effort.The steroid revelation is irrelevant because the things you mentioned happened beforehand, and quite frankly, if you are bothered by it, nothing should matter since.

      It made no sense for Yankees fans to relentlessly boo Arod when it seemed so detrimental. If that gets you going, so be it, but by no means stand in judgment of Jeter now.

    • T.O. Chris

      Anyone who looks at Alex Rodriguez and thinks he isn’t one of the best players in baseball history with or without steroids is kidding themselves!

      It’s easy to hate on Alex, he’s rich, dates beautiful women, makes millions, and dominates a sport loved by the world. The fact it took Jeter so long to catch hate like this is really more surprising than anything to me.

  2. JohnnyC

    William, this is much too rational a summation of the whole controversy. And it shows you have no future in journalism. Obviously O’Connor has no memory…nor any ethics. Anything for a dollar, Ian?

  3. TedK

    Well said. So Ian O’Connor wrote a book? Wouldn’t dream of wasting my time reading it. Let me know if O’Connor writes something where he doesn’t fan the flames.

  4. Carson

    To be fair, Davidoff is not being hypocritical. He is one of the few NY media members who has been banging the “Jeter isn;t as perfect as you people think he is” drum for years.

  5. Mike

    I’ve read a few O’Connor articles, and I’m always irritated after reading them. It’s not surprising that he goes and writes an entire book focusing on a topic fit for the tabloids.

  6. Professor Longnose

    This doesn’t change my personal opinion of Jeter at all. When he was great, I appreciated how great he was, and I liked that he didn’t go around saying stupid or obnoxious things and being a general jackass. Now that he’s not so great, I worry that the Yankees will keep playing him even if his hitting doesn’t come around, and I still like that he doesn’t go around saying stupid things or acting like a general jackass.

    As far as what a good person he is, he’s not a criminal, he doesn’t get arrested or beat people up or carry illegal weapons or try to get Curt Schilling to run for public office. He’s way ahead of the competition.

    That he got pissed off at someone behind the scenes at work and gave him a withering glance–I’m just in no position to throw stones on that account.

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