Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez came up to the big leagues together as the faces of baseball.
However, after Rodriguez famously said that team’s did not fear Jeter as much as other Yankees from their late 1990s dynasty, their relationship was never the same.
“Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him,” one may recall Rodriguez said to Esquire back in 2001. “So he’s never had to lead. He doesn’t have to, he can just go and play and have fun, and hit second. I mean, you know, hitting second is totally different than hitting third or fourth in a lineup because you go into New York trying to stop Bernie [Williams] and [Paul] O’Neill and everybody. You never say, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you.’ That’s never your concern.”
For the most part, the duo was able to keep things inside the clubhouse, which was typical of Jeter throughout his entire career.
However, in the third episode of ESPN’s “The Captain,” Jeter finally opened up.
“As a friend, I’m loyal,” he said in the documentary. “I just looked at it as, I wouldn’t have done it. And then it was the media. The constant hammer to the nail. They just kept hammering it in. It just became noise, which frustrated me. Just constant noise.”
“You can say whatever you want about me as a player. That’s fine,” Jeter later added. “But then it goes back to the trust, the loyalty. This is how the guy feels. He’s not a true friend, is how I felt. Because I wouldn’t do it to a friend.”
Rodriguez regrets saying what he said and called Jeter to apologize after that 2001 piece was published; however, he admitted in the documentary it was a sentiment “that I still stand behind today.”
Deep down, Jeter probably knows Rodriguez was right.
“When you talk about statistics, mine never compared to Alex’s,” Jeter said. “I’m not blind. I understand that.
“But we won.”
Ultimately, winning cures all, and with Jeter’s MVP-type season combined with Rodriguez’s postseason heroics, the duo won a World Series together in 2009.
It is unclear what their relationship is truly like today, but the beef has been squashed.
“We’ve spoken, so there is no wedge,” Jeter told “Good Day New York” Thursday. “Everything’s good. I know people to this day when I go places, that’s one of the first things they ask me about, but there are no issues between Alex and I at all.”