February 21, 2007



This was about E-6, error on Jeter for malfeasance as a leader. His relationship with Alex Rodriguez has mattered because Rodriguez matters so much to the success of the Yankees, and A-Rod has cared deeply about Jeter's approval.

Rodriguez attempted to recast the bond between the two and, perhaps, the power dynamics Monday when he admitted that their association had dwindled from "blood brothers" to "a working relationship." It was, perhaps, a liberating moment for Rodriguez, a chance to stop having to act as if something existed that does not any more.

Jeter's opportunity to take the cathartic baton came and went yesterday with the Yankee captain defiantly sticking to his cover story that nothing is wrong, and nothing has ever been wrong. Jeter is not dumb, so we must assume he just continues to play dumb. The ice prince wants to freeze A-Rod out, and then haughtily dismiss any discussion of the subject.

As he did last year, Jeter returned to the nonsense that "I don't think it's my job to tell fans to boo or not" when it comes to A-Rod. Well, first of all, Jeter did exactly that in June 2005, instructing the fans to start cheering the beleaguered Jason Giambi for the good of the team. And, at that point, Giambi had been shamed as a drug cheat and someone who pulled himself out of a World Series game. The difference, of course, was Jeter likes the easily likeable Giambi.

But reducing this to lecturing the fans about etiquette is just obfuscation. Jeter did not have to tell the fans what to do. He simply had to make Rodriguez feel more comfortable, more welcomed. Instead, Jeter has shown the unforgiving nature of a Soprano.

Hard to think of any team captain who's been more of a cancer on his team. It's been all downhill since he insisted that Arod, the obviously superior defensive player, move off SS instead of volunteering to do so himself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2007 7:17 AM
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