June 30, 2005
Web-Rag: Jeter and A-Rod Slug It Out
On June 20, after a throwing error from Jeter to Rodriguez handed the Yankees a 5-4 loss to the last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a TV producer says the sluggers came to blows in the clubhouse.
“I was doing an interview in the locker room and saw them go at it,” says the source. “A-Rod walked past Jeter’s locker and mumbled something about his throw, then Jeter told him to go f*** himself and all hell broke lose. Their teammates were pulling them away from each other.”
“Now you have guys like Bernie Williams who remember winning the World Series taking Jeter’s side, and then you have the trades, like Tony Womack, taking A-Rod’s side,” says a ballclub insider. “What you have is a team that’s split, and you can’t win baseball games like that.” Yankees spokesman Rick Cerrone called the fight an “absolute fantasy,” and denied any rift between the players, claiming “there are no lines drawn in the clubhouse.”
I have no idea if this is true or not. But, I do know that a report such as this, now that it is out, is not going to help this team. It's just something else for the media to hound them on......which is not a good thing.
Best thing for Jeter and A-Rod to do now is a joint interview to show they get along, etc., and put this little fire out.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at June 30, 2005 11:00 AM
//“Now you have guys like Bernie Williams who remember winning the World Series taking Jeter’s side, and then you have the trades, like Tony Womack, taking A-Rod’s side,” says a ballclub insider. “What you have is a team that’s split, and you can’t win baseball games like that.”//
That "baseball insider" is full of hit-say. Ask him if he remembers the Bronx Zoo. I wasn't there, but from what I read, those players didn't hold hands and sing "kumbayaa" all season long.
Must've been a slow news day
Posted by: Raf at June 30, 2005 11:23 AM
FWIW, after seeing this story, I asked my friend in a position to know if this story is true. Their answer was yes. I'm still trying to find out more.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at June 30, 2005 11:27 AM
Even if the story is true, so what? It's not the first time a pair of teammates went at it, and it won't be the last.
Posted by: Raf at June 30, 2005 11:42 AM
The fight doesn't bother me. Those happen all the time.
It's the split of the clubhouse that is bad.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at June 30, 2005 11:47 AM
These guys have a job to do. When Clemens came on board, do you think Jeter tanked on a ground ball, because he didn't like Clemens? That Posada would intentionally call a fastball down the middle, because he didn't like Clemens?
Whether a clubhouse is split, or if the players are lovey-dovey, their job is to win ballgames. If Jeter doesn't like Rodriguez, and vice versa, I couldn't care less; their job is to win games. Once it affects the team (Jeter replaces ARod's bats with bats made of balsa wood, Arod spikes Jeter's gatorade, etc) THEN we have a problem.
A lot of what you hear about "chemistry" is a bunch of hooey. The reason Boston didn't win before last year is not because they had "25 players, 25 cabs," it's because they didn't have the talent to pull it off. The Yanks didn't win because of "mystique and aura" they won because they had the talent (and a strong bullpen.. lol).
Posted by: Raf at June 30, 2005 12:14 PM
How is it bad from a pure win/loss standpoint? Great teams have had pretty awful clubhouses before.
I agree it's not as warm and fuzzy as we hazily remember the 1998 Yankees to be, but that's about the only downside to this I can think of.
Posted by: Clay at June 30, 2005 12:49 PM
If true, I hope the whole team shows this kind of fire for the rest of the season. I love it...you need to vent the frustration of the first half, and this is a good way of doing it for both players. Chances are they're better teammates after it happens. When someone punches you and you punch them back in this context, you end up respecting them.
The HOF-caliber play A-Rod and Jeter made at 3rd on Tuesday night will clear memories/grudges very quickly.
Posted by: Jason O. at June 30, 2005 01:12 PM
Posted by: Patrick at June 30, 2005 01:27 PM
"Jeter replaces ARod's bats with bats made of balsa wood"
I'd pay extra to see that one. I'm more worried about them keeping their heads on the field. I don't care what they do off of it as long as they don't injure themselves. Other than Wright and Womack. How come the guys that suck never take each other out for the season in a clubhouse brawl?
Posted by: hopbitters at June 30, 2005 01:41 PM
"The HOF-caliber play A-Rod and Jeter made at 3rd on Tuesday night"
Weeellllll, it was only a great play because A-Rod was able to do his best Stretch Armstrong impersonation and snag Jeter's wide throw.
Posted by: Clay at June 30, 2005 02:18 PM
Along these lines, after the all-star break I hope there's something similar to the Marichal/Roseboro incident involving A-Rod and Varitek.
Posted by: Jason O. at June 30, 2005 03:00 PM
I believe this story is bogus. It was sent to me as well. I just spoke to a beat writer covering the Yankees who's never heard a word about this. It sounds like a web site is trying to generate attention.
Posted by: David Pinto at June 30, 2005 03:04 PM
Thanks David. It's possible.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at June 30, 2005 03:31 PM
Not possible. Yankee clubhouse is way to professional for this to happen. It's a suit and tie boardroom in there. I lived through the Bronx Zoo. This is webbull at its worst. Don't spread this stuff. It's not healthy and it isn't true.
Posted by: Scott Coulter at June 30, 2005 04:07 PM
I think that if something like this were to have happened- you would have heard about it on 6/21...NOT 10 days later on 6/30.
If your team captain and the highest paid player in the game had to be "restrained", you don't think the NY Tabloids would have plastered that all over the back page? Heck- this is FRONT page news!
Please- the more I think about it- the more I think there is no chance this happened. Its the media again trying to create a bigger rift b/tw A-Rod and Jeter.
Posted by: phil at June 30, 2005 04:47 PM
I'm incredibly skeptical that this happened. It's simply waaaaaaay too big not to have made it out by now via major news outlets.
To believe this is to believe that a media uniformly thirsty for Yankee blood was unanimously capable of sweeping the single biggest story to come out of that locker room in over 25 years -- the Captain vs. the game's highest-paid player -- under the rug.
I'm calling B.S. I don't buy it for a New York minute.
Posted by: Jay Jaffe at June 30, 2005 07:13 PM
I know that it seems *very odd* that this could have flown under the radar these days. But, sometimes, affairs that players have with wives of other players fall under the radar too - and, just because they do, it doesn't mean that they don't happen.
How many times are things made fun of, then protested, that later turn out to be accepted as true? Could this be one of them? I dunno.
I'm not ready to say this happened. But, until I know for sure, I'm also not ready to say that it didn't.
Just because it was not reported on the spot, is that the reason why we should ignore the story? Think about it, outside of that. Think about the event.
Bad, ugly, loss. Team playing terrible. Everyone under pressure. You make a key error to help lose the game. You feel terrible at the end of the game. You're tense, bordering on blind anger, like a spring ready to pop. And, just then, someone says the magic words to set you off.
And, then you tell the other guy, who set you off, some magic words back at him - and, maybe he has a bit of a temper and has been under a lot of stress for a long time too?
Now, keep in mind, these are not 40-something-year-old white collar workers. They're physical guys. More likely to use their hands than their wit.
It's almost natural for these two young and very angry men to start pushing and shoving at this point - no? Is this so hard to accept that it could have happened?
Also, do you think that if it happened, the Yankees could not have put the hard and quick wet blanket on it in a hurry, sending a message to all that saw it, saying "Talk about this, and you're a dead man going forward in this clubhouse." Think the Yankees are above that? Not in a heartbeat.
This is why I want to see it proven, or disproved, before I sign off on 'believe' or 'not.'
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at June 30, 2005 08:48 PM
I guess the one thing that makes me wonder about the accuracy of this story is that we're always told about how careful Jeter is with the media. One wouldn't expect him to tell A-Rod to f*** himself with members of the media present. But, like Steve said, it had to be a tense situation in that locker room given the outcome of the game. So anything is possible, I guess.
Posted by: Jen at June 30, 2005 09:43 PM
more importantly, there is no way a member of the media witnesses this and doesn't report it. I'm sorry, but that is crap!
Posted by: seamus at July 1, 2005 09:08 AM
FWIW, the News is now running a story on this:
In their story, they added: "Two Yankee players told The News they had no knowledge of a fight."
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 1, 2005 11:09 AM
"affairs that players have with wives of other players fall under the radar too - and, just because they do, it doesn't mean that they don't happen"
affairs don't happen in public with the media present. they are kept secret. The fact that this allegedly happened even with one media person present, and it did not get mentioned the next day, is definte grounds for calling "shenanigans" on this whole story
Posted by: phil at July 1, 2005 01:55 PM
and further- I don't buy that whole "you talk about this and your dead" nonsense."
that's like telling a kid not to touch the red button then locking him in a room with nothing but the red button....you know he's gonna touch the red button!
Posted by: phil at July 1, 2005 01:57 PM
Phil, any insider can tell you that there's stuff that goes on with the players, that everyone with access to the clubhouse knows, that never gets written about in the papers.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 1, 2005 03:03 PM
I agree- but given the nature of this situation, and the history b/tw these two players, this would be an exception.
If Buddy Groom and John Flaherty went at it because John Flaherty stole Buddy's hair spray and didn;t give it back...no big deal.
A-Rod and Jeter cursing at each other and almost throwing down??? Come on- there's no way they keep that under wraps for 10 days.
Posted by: phil at July 1, 2005 04:01 PM
lol....just finished typing that last post and started thinking if Groom and Flaherty went at it over hair spray.....funny image.
Posted by: phil at July 1, 2005 04:02 PM