TAMPA, Fla. - Yes, it's true, admitted Alex Rodriguez, his relationship with Derek Jeter is not what it once was.
Surrounded by reporters and cameras as he sat in the first-base dugout Monday at Legends Field, A-Rod played true confessions, acknowledging they don't go out together all the time anymore.
"People start assuming that things are a lot worse than what they are, which they're not. But they're obviously not as great as they used to be. We were like blood brothers," Rodriguez said. "You don't have to go to dinner with a guy four, five times a week to do what you're doing. It's actually much better than all you guys expect, but I just want to let the truth be known."
"I care about what he thinks about me on the field. I think it's important for us to be on the right page. And we are. We're here to win a championship together."
A-Rod and Jeter were buddy-buddy back in the 1990s, when Rodriguez was a young star shortstop in Seattle and Jeter emerged as a force that helped the New York Yankees win four World Series titles in five years. But A-Rod dissed Jeter in a 2001 Esquire article, saying "Jeter's been blessed with great talent around him" and "he's never had to lead."
Since Rodriguez was acquired by the Yankees in 2004, their relationship has been analyzed and dissected, a soap-opera sidebar to New York's repeated postseason failures.
Until now, A-Rod had denied their relationship had changed.
"Let's make a contract," Rodriguez said after the first Jeter question. "You don't ask me about Derek anymore, and I promise I'll stop lying to all you guys."