"I couldn't believe it," explained one stunned onlooker. "The things he was saying, I just never expected to hear those words from Derek Jeter."
What was expected to be a routine press conference by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter turned into an indictment of the Yankees, their negotiating stance, and their legacy.
One witness, still in so much shock she couldn't remember her own name, explained that, "One reporter was all, 'what do you think about your contract status?' And Jeter was all, 'I'm focused on this season, and I won't talk about my contract status after today.' And I was all, 'Ho. Ly. S--t!'"
Indeed. Such strong language was unexpected from a man who has perfected the non-answer over his 15 year Major League career. You could hear the anger in Jeter's voice, and the tension was palpable.
When asked whether he was considering testing the waters of free agency, a clearly bitter Jeter responded that, "The Yankees are the only organization I want to play for." The response largely elicited a stunned silence from the usually loquacious crowd of New York journalists, known for their jaded toughness. One reporter was seen weeping.
"No one saw that coming," said one journalist. "I mean, Derek Jeter is usually pretty predictable in his answers, but for him to suggest he's fine with waiting until the season's over to negotiate a new deal, or that he wants to play as long as he's able, healthy, and productive, you just never thought you'd hear that from the Yankee captain. Mind blowing. That's all I can say."
Tomorrow Alex Rodriguez will face the New York media. After today's stunning revelations, he can expect a lot of questions about his frenemy, Derek Jeter. What began as a very quiet Spring Training for the Yankees, just got interesting.