Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yankees Introduce Newest Yankee

In watching the Yankees press conference from Tampa today one thing was crystal clear. The Yankees were putting on a "We are family" presence in officially announcing Derek Jeter's new deal.

This was a presser that wasn't necessary except for the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman to show they and Derek Jeter were all on the same page. That even Jennifer Steinbrenner was present was kind of silly (as was her half blonde, half brown hairstyle).

The most telling remarks came from Jeter though who took veiled shots at Cashman when he expressed anger about the negotiations going public. Jeter was under the impression that such a thing would not occur. Cashman later told the Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch he didn't regret telling Jeter to test the market and felt anger himself for having to respond to Casey Close's comments about Jeter's treatment. In my eyes Cashman was clearly in the wrong at the time and did not need to make any public statements. Close's comments had been pretty innocuous.

Here are the details of the press conference:

First up to speak was GM Brian Cashman. He welcomed back Jeter, though he never left, and thanked the Steinbrenners for allowing him to be able to sign and keep players like Jeter.

Cashman credited everyone involved in getting Jeter re-signed, including Jeter, his family (his father was in attendance) as well as members of the Yankees front office that were not in attendance (Randy Levine and Lonn Trost were in NY for a press conference for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and Jean Afterman who stayed in Orlando).

Cashman then turned things over to Joe Girardi, who started by talking about the fact that he has played alongside Jeter, coached him, and then managed him. "He is a true Yankee. He embodies what the Yankees are all about. Class, loyalty, championships, hard work, a higher passion for the game. We're all fortunate that he's back; we all anticipated this would happen, I'm just glad it's over. I'm fortunate I'm able to manage a guy like Derek".

Girardi finished by talking about how he admired how Jeter carried himself on and off the field, and then he turned things over to Jeter himself.

The Captain joked that he had never had a press conference before. "It's the only organization I've ever wanted to play for. The only one I want to play for and where I want to finish my career. I've been vocal about that since day one."

He then thanked the Steinbrenner family for bringing him back and then turned things over to questions.

First question: Was there ever time you thought there would be another organization you would play for?

Jeter responded that he never ever wanted to be with any other team and made that quite clear. He would repeat this mantra several times throughout the conference and the post-conference remarks with the YES network's Bob Lorenz and Jack Curry.

What was the level of frustration you reached during the process?

"I'm going to be honest with you guys. The thing that bothered me the most was how public this became. This was a negotation and the negotations were supposed to be private. I was in an uncomfortable position and one I didn't enjoy. I've prided myself over the years on keeping things out of the papers and out of the media. And this turned into a public thing. It was something I was not happy about it and I let my feelings be known." Jeter than added, "I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't angry about the way things went."

WFAN's Sweeny Murti asked who Jeter was angry out, but the Captain wouldn't bite. He joked that he blamed Sweeny, but said "I'm not going to point fingers at anyone". Jeter also mentioned that he was angry about how he was portrayed in the media- as arrogant, having salary demands (of which he later said he never made any), etc. He understood that both sides bring offers to the table in a negotiation, that is what a negotation is.

Do you feel you have something to prove?

"I don't feel I have everything to prove because of that (the contract). Every year we try to go out and prove ourselves as a team." He added, "I try to prove things to myself and to help the team win."

Jeter finished by saying he takes each season on it's own and he's not looking towards the end of his career. That he's still feels that he's in the middle of it.

Publicly the Yankees are letting bygones be bygones, but behind the scenes that may not be the case.

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