Friday, June 3, 2011

St. Jeter! Don't think so

A New York Times book review of Ian O’ Connor’s Derek Jeter biography The Captain implies that the book completely fawns over the shortstop of the New York Yankees. I have to disagree.

Of course, the book is mostly a positive summary of Jeter's ascent to the throne of the Yankees because his journey and his life have been a mostly positive experience. But I also think that O' Connor did a good job of fleshing out some of the more negative aspects of Jeter's personality, namely his unwillingness to forgive and forget.

For example, O’ Connor sheds more light on Jeter’s dispute with Chad Curtis, the former Yankees outfielder who was infuriated by Jeter’s playful banter with Alex Rodriguez (this being, of course, when Jeter and ARod was still friends during ARod’s Seattle days). Curtis, despite being a solid player for the Yankees and hitting a game-winning home run in the World Series, was dumped that offseason. O’ Connor’s reporting confirms what I always suspected: that Jeter had a major hand in getting Curtis shipped out of town. But O’ Connor also notes that Jeter didn't let that dispute stop him from showing kindness to some kids that Curtis brought to a Yankees game in Detroit several years later. I don’t think that was a sign of Jeter forgiving Curtis. I just think Jeter’s affection for children led him to briefly push aside any bad feelings he had for Curtis.

O’ Connor’s book also highlights Jeter’s coldness toward and distrust of people he has been friends with for years. From the book, I get the impression that Jeter doesn’t truly trust anyone except his parents and sister, which is somewhat understandable for a person in his position, but a terrible way to live.

As the Times review notes, the reason O’ Connor’s book doesn’t reveal a truly troubled side to the Yankees Captain is because it probably doesn’t exist. Maybe years from now, when Jeter is long retired, we’ll start to hear some really disturbing stories about the captain. But I seriously doubt it.

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