There were slaps on the back, taps on the shoulder and pats on the inner-thigh. Alex Rodriguez displayed more physical affection towards Derek Jeter during the KayRod Cast than most couples show each other once they get past the honeymoon phase.
Too bad Jetes didn’t return the favor. Instead, he often stared blankly into the camera.
The best papelbon interview ever
It’s apparent A-Rod and Jeter have buried the hatchet. Jeter made his highly anticipated appearance on the KayRod Cast Sunday (partially to promote his ESPN docuseries, “The Captain”), and the two best friends-turned-frenemies engaged in some genuine conversation. At multiple points, Rodriguez bemoaned his immaturity as a player, and how it cost him friendships with Jeter and other teammates.
“One of my biggest regrets — and a lot of it is because of my craziness, and all the mistakes I made on and off the field — my biggest regret is, I wish we were as close we were when we were teenagers in Seattle when we played,” said Rodriguez.
In response, Jeter said that animosity dissipates over time, especially as one ages. He mentioned the death of his good friend, former outfielder Gerald Williams, as a personal turning point.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve seen [A-Rod]. We got together — what was it? A month? Month and a half ago? And had some conversations. You move on. You learn,” said Jeter. “Things happen in life. I’ve gone through personal things, and lost one of my best friends in Gerald Williams. You realize life is short, and you don’t hold grudges anymore.”
To lighten the mood, A-Rod made a crack that they drank a lot of cocktails that night, which elicited a delayed and visibly uncomfortable chuckle from Jeter.
“I had a lot of cocktails,” A-Rod cleared up.
As two of the game’s brightest stars, A-Rod and Jeter were inseparable during their early years. They even slept over each other’s houses, which prompted A-Rod to tell an amusing story about how he was forced to eat Lucky Charms with orange juice while staying at Jeter’s bachelor pad.
But then came that fateful 2001 Esquire interview, when A-Rod denigrated Jeter’s playing ability and said he was never the focal point of the Yankees. “Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him,” said A-Rod. “You never say, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you. That’s never your concern.”
Those words sparked more than a decade of frosty relations between them, including when Rodriguez played for the Yankees. While Jeter and A-Rod seem better now, it’s clear their relationship was forever raptured.
As the guilty party, A-Rod was very self-deprecating in front of Jeter, and he seemingly didn’t always know how to react. At one point, Michael Kay asked Jeter about the Hall of Fame, and whether he thinks about the one writer who left him off his ballot.
That set up A-Rod for a pretty good line. “Why don’t you get mad at the 80 percent who didn’t vote for me?,” he asked.
There was silence on the other end.
It didn’t seem like A-Rod put on a show for the cameras. He appeared to speak from his heart, and clearly regrets the way he carried himself through portions of his career.
But that doesn’t mean Jeter is ready to receive all of A-Rod’s goodwill — no matter how many love taps he receives.