Saturday, July 7, 2012

ARod finally feels Jeter’s pain of betrayal

Alex Rodriguez must finally understand how his former pal and now frenemy Derek Jeter felt when ARod criticized him in Esquire all those years ago.

ARod is getting a taste of his ownmedicine after being called out by Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in Sports Illustrated this week. The former New York Yankees great said ARod has no place in baseball’s hallowed Hall because of his use of performance-enhancing drugs. To be fair, Reggie took shots at plenty of people in the article, including many of his fellow members of the Hall and even one who died very recently in Gary Carter, which has earned Jackson plenty of criticism. But the shots at ARod got the most attention because they are both members of the Yankees organization and supposedly friends and because anything involving ARod is controversial.

The Yankees third baseman invoked the “with friends like that who needs enemies” line before declining to talk about the impact of these comments on his relationship with Jackson. But he is clearly pissed off, as he has every right to be. Jackson has every right to express his opinion that the PED users should not be allowed in the Hall, an opinion shared by me and many other baseball observers. I even give Reggie credit for daring to say what many of his fellow Hall of Famers are probably thinking. But given Jackson’s position as special advisor for the Yankees, it was probably unwise for him to have specifically targeted ARod, even if he is right.

I doubt ARod and Reggie were ever as close as ARod used to be with Jeter. Remember, Jeter opened up his home to his pal when ARod was with the Seattle Mariners and visiting New York to play against the Yankees. I vividly remember a video of the two of them teasing each other (Jeter jokingly once sent ARod a signed Derek Jeter baseball card as a gift). But ARod ruined that relationship completely when he took those shots at Jeter in that Esquire article.

ARod made some ill-advised and insensitive comments about how Jeter was never the threat another team worried about when facing the Yankees. Jeter was blindsided and deeply hurt by the comments and never really forgave ARod. Most of their conflict in the latter years was not about the Esquire article, but about Jeter’s annoyance with ARod’s vanity and selfish ways, according to Ian O’Connor’s terrific book The Captain. But that Esquire article broke their friendship. ARod now knows how it feels to be publicly stabbed in the back by someone you considered a friend.

Reggie better hope ARod is a lot moreforgiving than Jeter is. But as they say, what goes around comes around. 

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