Monday’s drama in Tampa was that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter aren’t best friends. In Sarasota, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn were ganging up on Ryan Freel and busting up the entire clubhouse in laughter.
“That’s something we lacked in New York. It felt like everyone would go their own separate ways. Here guys go out and do things together,” said [Bubba] Crosby, who was signed to a free agent contract in the off-season. “I think that’s a huge part of the game. The Yankees have had $200 million-plus payrolls the last few years. Money doesn’t mean championships all the time. You look at St. Louis, it looks like the guys love each other and hang out.”
This was about E-6, error on Jeter for malfeasance as a leader. His relationship with Alex Rodriguez has mattered because Rodriguez matters so much to the success of the Yankees, and A-Rod has cared deeply about Jeter’s approval.
Rodriguez attempted to recast the bond between the two and, perhaps, the power dynamics Monday when he admitted that their association had dwindled from “blood brothers” to “a working relationship.” It was, perhaps, a liberating moment for Rodriguez, a chance to stop having to act as if something existed that does not any more.
Jeter’s opportunity to take the cathartic baton came and went yesterday with the Yankee captain defiantly sticking to his cover story that nothing is wrong, and nothing has ever been wrong. Jeter is not dumb, so we must assume he just continues to play dumb. The ice prince wants to freeze A-Rod out, and then haughtily dismiss any discussion of the subject.
Should we be surprised by this? Bob Klapisch said it last October:
They talk about pinstripe tradition, but the roster is plagued by petty rivalries and jealousies that act as a cancer in the postseason.
Somehow, this Yankees team needs to come together. (Or, if it’s not possible with this current cast, maybe the Yankees need to find a combination that works?)
I wish that Cashman would have thought about personalities fitting together when he constructed this team over the last three or four years. But, that’s said and done.
Perhaps Torre could pull everyone into a room and hold them there until it gets worked out? That’s what he does best, no? So, Joe, how about it?