Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeter book promises to reopen wounds

The fact that Derek Jeter is emphatically distancing himself from Ian O'Conner unauthorized biography is a clear sign that the book will be a public relations nightmare for Jeter and the New York Yankees and will reopen wounds both old and new.

Jeter never wants to speak about his personal life or behind-the-scenes clubhouse matters so his insistence on letting the world know that it’s not his book is quite telling. Jeter obviously knows what’s coming in the book (likely because O’Connor requested and probably received a summary interview) and knows that it’s bad.

There’s no indication that it necessarily portrays Jeter in a bad light, but it’s clear the book intimately covers his relationships with various members of the Yankees organizations, relationships that have frayed and broken at times, particularly with Alex Rodriguez and Brian Cashman. We all know the genesis of the souring of these relationships (the betrayal by a former friend in ARod’s case and the nasty shots Cashman took at the shortstop during the contract negotiations), but the book has to shed some new light on these and other disagreements if Jeter is worried enough to disavow it.

The last thing Jeter probably wants is these incidents being dredged up again, forcing him to answer questions about things he feels should stay in the past. Jeter is a pretty media savvy guy and the public relations professionals will say that the smart thing to do is to try to get ahead of some of the worst stuff in the book to blunt their impact. But that approach contradicts Jeter’s consistent stance of not delving into private matters in public so he’s probably not going to further address the book until reporters start asking him questions about it.

I have to admit that I will be one of the first buyers of the book, mostly because Jeter’s rush to distance himself makes me think that it will feature revelations that he has so far managed to conceal. Regardless, the book promises to reopen wounds that probably should remain closed for the Yankees sake.

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