Via Ian O’Connor’s new book on Jeter -
Alex Rodriguez was not just humiliated by his own steroid confessions; he was a physical wreck going into his March 2009 surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. He feared his career might be over, or at least permanently impaired.
“I’d hit rock bottom,” A-Rod would say.
Around the same time, Details magazine published a piece on Rodriguez that included a photo showing A-Rod in a muscle shirt, kissing his own reflection in the mirror. So after Rodriguez rehabbed from surgery, and before he rejoined the team in early May, A-Rod would be dragged to a Tampa diner, Mom’s Place, by two people close to him — Yankees PR man Jason Zillo and longtime friend Gui Socarras.
Rodriguez had surrounded himself with an ever-growing circle of advisers and crisis counselors, including Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, John McCain’s strategist, Ben Porritt, PR man Richard Rubenstein, and, of course, Scott Boras. But none of these suits had the nerve to piece together an intervention quite like this: Zillo and Socarras shouted down A-Rod over 90 minutes, ordering him to shed his self-serving skin for keeps.
“I’m glad I had two friends that were very honest with me,” Rodriguez said of the ambush.
Two days after this breakfast meeting, A-Rod hit the first post-surgical pitch he saw for a three-run homer in Baltimore. Of greater consequence, he maintained a relatively humble demeanor over the course of the season and, in his words, “divorced myself from any personal achievements.”
Rodriguez would say he had spent more time with his teammates off the field — at dinners and backyard barbecues — than he had in his first five Yankee years combined. Although A-Rod did not say so publicly, it was obvious Derek Jeter had embraced him as never before.
For one, Jeter had given up trying to understand why A-Rod could not be more like him. For two, Jeter realized an emasculated A-Rod was someone worth giving another shot.
The captain saw A-Rod was making a legitimate attempt to curb his high-maintenance ways. More often than in the past, Jeter was seen engaging Rodriguez in small talk in the clubhouse, in the dugout, around the batting cage. They acted less like business partners with competing agendas and more like teammates with a common goal.
…Jeter realized an emasculated A-Rod was someone worth giving another shot…
The centaur is a gelding? Wow. You learn something new everyday!