Ask Derek Jeter, and he might pick Kadafi as the less crazy one.
The Yankees’ captain took the high road in responding to Steinbrenner’s not-so-subtle shots at the shortstop and his choice of residence, but the way the Yankees have treated Jeter lately has been far from classy.
Jeter is the face of the franchise. Next to Yogi Berra, the captain is the most famous living Yankee on the planet. He has an entire book of New York Times articles dedicated to him. He is a future Hall of Famer and never has done anything to embarrass the pinstripes, despite leading a personal life Frank Sinatra could appreciate.
So why are the Yankees doing everything they can to make Jeter angry?
First, they turned Jeter's contract negotiations into an open debate. Sure, Jeter might have thought the year was 2000 when he calculated his average annual value, but Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees' brain trust didn't have to treat him like the second coming of Mario Mendoza. They could have kept the money talks private.
Now, Hank Steinbrenner is harping on 2010 and insulting Jeter for building a mansion. Guess the son of The Boss doesn’t want to be invited to a cookout.
Maybe playing hardball is part of a calculated plot to motivate Jeter after the down year he had a season ago. Maybe all the internal venom directed toward him is a way to get people to respect Jeter even more, to turn him into a sympathetic figure, someone non-Yankees fans will feel bad about booing.
Jeter is from the old school. He doesn’t like TMZ drama and has spent his entire career avoiding circus sideshows. Being the good soldier he is, Jeter will smile in the face of blowback. But don’t think for a New York minute that the captain enjoys being called out by anyone in public, let alone the owner of his team.
Jeter has been living a dream playing for the Yankees. His quotes over the years trumpet that pride. As he enters the twilight of his playing days, the Yankees’ powers that be might be planting some seeds of doubt in Jeter’s mind about how great the Yankees are.
If this is how they treat someone who’s done the right thing from Day 1, someone who’s stood for excellence and demonstrated impeccable character, someone who is destined to have a place in Monument Park alongside Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio – perhaps this organization isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.
The Bronx Zoo is alive and well and open for business in 2011.
Will the Yankees regret their recent treatment of Derek Jeter? Share your thoughts below.
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