Derek Jeter was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated earlier this week. That’s not all that surprising given Jeter being a class act. He’s the captain of his team, been with the same team since he started his career and comes through in the clutch.
The same cannot be said for his teammate, Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod admitted before the season that he used PED’s earlier in his career. After returning from an injury, A-Rod performed at a high level. It appeared that admitting his drug use, freed him from his performance anxiety he suffered from earlier in his Yankee tenure.
Jeter does things the right way while A-Rod is more concerned with how his behavior will be perceived by the media. During an All-Star Game, Jeter cheered on his teammates until the end of the game while A-Rod checked out early to host a party. Further proof that A-Rod will never be a Sportsman of the Year, but A-Rod thinks the media is out to get him.
Reports of jealousy between A-Rod and Jeter have been circulating for years. A-Rod must deal with the perception, real or imagined that for all his missteps, Jeter handled himself with class and dignity. There could have been an infomercial on when certain situations arise; this is how not to behave (A-Rod) contrasted with the appropriate behavior (Jeter).
Sports Illustrated should be commended for making the right choice in honoring Derek Jeter with the award. Meanwhile, it’s just another stab that will upset A-Rod. He might be the highest paid player in baseball, but he has a lot to learn from the captain of his team.