Totally off base! Derek Jeter recently shut down the rumors that there was any lingering tension between himself and former teammate Alex Rodriguez following their early 2000s feud.
“No, there is no wedge. Everything’s good,” Jeter, 48, told Good Day New York during an interview on Thursday, July 28. “I know people to this day, when I go places, that’s one of the first things that they ask me about, but there are no issues between Alex and I at all.”
Speculation about growing tension between the former Yankee shortstop and A-Rod, 47, began over two decades ago after the twosome were signed to different Major League Baseball teams. Jeter, however, claims he was more focused on his career than feuding with a friend.
“There were things that I kept private. My job, being the captain of the Yankees, was to limit distractions and in order to limit distractions, I know sometimes I didn’t create much controversy,” he explained. “I talked about things one time and that was the end of it.”
Rumors of a rift between the athletes who were friends in the minor leagues before getting traded up, began in 2000 after Rodriguez signed a $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers — the biggest one in history — and subsequently revealed that he didn’t believe Jeter would ever beat the financial record.
“I don’t know who it’s going to be,” Rodriguez told ESPN in December 2000. “The 252 is going to be hard to break because of my age and my talent at such a young age. Even a guy like Derek, it’s going to be hard for him to break that because he just doesn’t do the power numbers and defensively he doesn’t do all those things.”
Tensions only grew when Golden Glove Award winner made disparaging comments about his lack of faith in Jeter’s leadership abilities.
“Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him. He’s never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun,” he told Esquire in 2001, per The New York Times. “He hits second—that’s totally different than third or fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie and O’Neill. You never say, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you.’ He’s never your concern.”
Jeter responded by saying the comments “bothered him” because they questioned his unwavering loyalty — something he takes very seriously.
“Those comments bothered me because, like I said, I’m very, very loyal,” Jeter explained in his new docuseries, The Captain, per the New York Post. “As a friend, I’m loyal. 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.”
However, these days, both former All-Stars are more focused on their children more than anything else. “I’m chasing my girls around,” the New Jersey native told Fox 5 New York about his daughters, Bella, 4, Story, 3, and River, 7 months, whom he shares with wife Hannah Jeter. “Right now, I’m really focused on being there for them and trying to help them find out what they’re passionate about.”
Rodriguez, for his part, revealed that “life is good” during a July episode of “The Martha Stewart Podcast,” adding, that he is “very fortunate” to wake up every morning thankful “for my health [and] my beautiful daughters,” whom he refers to as his “his greatest gift.” (Rodriguez shares daughters Natasha, 17, and Ella,14, with ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis).
Originally published at www.usmagazine.com