Don Zimmer was never one to hold his tongue during his tenure as the Yanks' bench coach, and it's good to see that he's still got it. Today, intrepid reporters asked Zimmer what he thought of the Jeter/A-Rod soap opera that's taking place on the other side of Tampa. Zimmer's response:
"What's [Rodriguez] make, $25 million a year? What is it that Jeter's done any different with him than what anybody else has done? How in the hell can Jeter be criticized over A-Rod? I'm trying to figure it out. I don't even understand it, but it makes me sick because I'm a Jeter man -- me and millions others."
Zimmer made many comments, and tried to stop himself short of saying that A-Rod is a big baby, but the message was clear, and it's what I've been saying all along. Jeter is a leader by what he does on the field. Jeter is a leader because he didn't raise hell and pout when A-Rod was brought in. He welcomed him into the clubhouse, and went about doing his job. Just like he's done with every other player that's come to the Yanks since 1996.
A-Rod isn't the first player to be brought into this clubhouse, and he won't be the last. He's just the one that can't hack the pressure. Why do people expect Jeter to turn him into a man? The issue here isn't Jeter's treatment of A-Rod, or his lack of support, the issue is A-Rod's immaturity, vanity and jealousy of Jeter. That Esquire magazine article from six years ago has nothing to do with A-Rod's complete playoff meltdown, it's just an excuse. People have to assign some kind of cause and effect to A-Rod's playoff ineptitude because he's just too good of a player to be such a choke artist. They don't want to see A-Rod for what he is, Mr. May times 10.