Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jeter strikes back at the Evil Empire

Apparently, the New York Yankees weren’t as impressed as I was with the way Derek Jeter handled the whole mess involving Jorge Posada.

Buster Olney broke a very interesting story about how the Yankees are pissed off at Jeter for not calling out Posada for quitting on the team. Even though he is the captain, the Yankees were probably delusional to expect Jeter to criticize his good pal, just as it was completely unrealistic for Brian Cashman to expect Jeter to jump at the chance to defend Alex Rodriguez a few years ago when he was getting hammered by Yankee fans for his failures in the clutch.

But the Yankees have no one to blame but themselves for their deteriorating relationship with Jeter. They let it get to the point where Jeter felt no need to defend the organization and its handling of the Posada situation. It started with the unnecessarily acrimonious contract negotiations (led by Cashman’s “go test the market” challenge), kept going with Hank Steinbrenner’s ill-conceived mansions dig and now culminates with the Posada situation. Perhaps Steinbrenner is making an attempt at reconciliation (more likely he is in spin mode) when he insists the Yankees are not upset with the captain for backing Posada.

Even the fact that the Yankees let a story leak about them being angry with Jeter speaks to their bad judgment and role in the declining relationship with their captain. If they were really that upset with Jeter, why didn’t Cashman or someone else in the Yankee hierarchy pull him aside and ask him what he was thinking? They know Jeter is an ultra private person—why do they continue to insist on publicly embarrassing him?

I said back when all the Jeter contract stuff was percolating that Jeter would never forgive and forget, that some way he would figure out a way to make the Yankees pay for mistreating him (not by paying him a lower salary, but by making him seem like just another greedy ballplayer in the press). It looks like the payback may be starting now, with Jeter striking back at the Evil Empire.

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