Derek Jeter talks about A-Rod, season ... but not personal life
Derek Jeter says he supports Alex Rodriguez and so do the rest of the Yankees
Jeter says big-spending offseason doesn't add to pressure to win
Jeter wouldn't trade places with anyone else in the world
SI.com's Jimmy Traina spoke with Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter late Tuesday from the Gillette-EA SPORTS Champions of Gaming Global Finals. This is Traina's third attempt at harassing Jeter about his relationship with Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly. He interviewed Jeter last July and last October. Jeter also discusses the current state of his relationship with Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees' upcoming season and more.
SI.com: You're about to compete in the Gillette-EA SPORTS Champions of Gaming Global Finals, in which a contest winner gets to play against you in an Xbox Live game. The last time we spoke you said you didn't play video games. Have you practiced?
Jeter: I've made a little progress.
SI.com: How do you like your chances tonight?
Jeter: They're not very good. I'm just playing in a little shootout. I'm playing a soccer game.
SI.com: Gotcha. So I have to ask you about Joe Torre's book. Have you read it?
Jeter: I haven't read it. It just came out today, right?
SI.com: Yes, and there's some stuff in the book about you and Alex Rodriguez. How would you on this day, Feb. 3, characterize your relationship with A-Rod?
Jeter: I'm just curious as to why people keep asking the same questions over and over. We've been down this road before. Alex is a teammate. I support him. Our whole team is behind him. We all support him. And we're looking forward to a new season. To be quite honest with you, it's old hearing the same questions. It's something that's been addressed before in the past. Everyone's moved beyond it. And it doesn't really need to be addressed again.
SI.com: Do you ever see yourself writing a book?
Jeter: I've written one. You're supposed to know that, Jimmy.
SI.com: I mean after you've retired; a look back at your career.
Jeter: Nah, I don't see myself doing that.
SI.com: OK, then let's talk about this upcoming season. The Yankees had a big offseason, signing CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Texeira. Do those moves and spending that kind of money put even more pressure on you to win it all?
Jeter: I don't know how you can say "more" pressure because every year we're expected to win a championship. That's the bottom line. So I don't know how you could have "more" pressure than winning it all. So every year, it's the same expectations for us and that won't change.
SI.com: But are things intensified even more when you bring in three big-name, big-money players in one offseason?
Jeter: Like I said, every season we go to spring training and it's World Series or bust. That's what the expectation level has been since 1997 after we won it all in 1996, and that doesn't change.
SI.com: OK, let's talk about fun stuff. We just had a great Super Bowl. Where did you watch the game?
Jeter: I watched it at Jorge Posada's house.
SI.com: Big party?
Jeter: No, a couple of people.
SI.com: What'd you think of the game? Which team were you pulling for?
Jeter: Good game, it was an exciting game. Great ending. I've gotten to know Ben [Roethlisberger] through the years, so I was pulling for him.
SI.com: What about New Year's Eve? What's Derek Jeter's New Year's Eve like?
Jeter: It's probably like everyone else's New Year's Eve. Count down from 10 to 1 and then you celebrate.
SI.com: Were you at a house party or out?
Jeter: Nah, I wasn't at a house party. I was out of the country actually.
SI.com: Speaking of that, there was a picture of you in the New York Post last week.
Jeter: A picture of me?
SI.com: Yeah, with an attractive woman, eating lunch. You had this look on your face like you were either stunned that someone took your picture, or you were mad that someone took your picture. Do you ever get used to someone snapping a photo of you while you're eating?
Jeter: No, I don't think you ever get used to it.
SI.com: Were you aware that picture was being taken?
Jeter: I don't know what picture you're talking about.
SI.com: Apparently you were in Puerto Rico and you were sharing a meal with Minka Kelly.
Jeter: That was at a charity event.
SI.com: It didn't look like a charity event.
Jeter: It was a charity event. It was Jorge Posada's charity event, Jimmy. You gotta know these things. [Laughing] You gotta do your research. You gotta come prepared for these interviews. You're not prepared today.
SI.com: Can I ask how Minka is?
Jeter: You can ask her. [Laughing] You try to go down the same road every time. You know I'm not gonna give you anything.
SI.com: I gotta try.
Jeter: [Laughing] You can write down "Once again, I was denied."
SI.com: Well, I have to ask because in the past, you always said the same thing to me, but we always see pictures of you guys together and then people ask me how it feels to have you lie to me.
Jeter: I never lied you, Jimmy. You have to listen. Listen to what I say.
SI.com: So if I just came out and asked if you were dating Minka Kelly, what would the answer be?
Jeter: I don't talk about my personal life. That's not a lie, right?
SI.com: So I guess you won't tell me what you have planned for Valentine's Day either?
Jeter: No. Why would I tell you that? Then that would ruin any plans I have, right, Jimmy?
SI.com: So does that mean you're planning a surprise for someone?
Jeter: No, I didn't say that. It would ruin any plans that I have -- or may have.
SI.com: OK. I'll move on. At the end of 2008, SI.com held the Clicksy Awards. One of the questions we asked our readers was "If you could trade places with any athlete for one day, who would it be?" Somehow, you came in third place with 24 percent of the vote. Tiger Woods came in second with 25 percent and Tom Brady came in first with 29 percent. If you could trade places for one day with either Brady or Tiger, who would it be?
Jeter: You know what, man? I'm fine. I'm fine. I don't know if I would trade places with anyone.
SI.com: What was the most fun thing you did this offseason?
Jeter: This interview right here. This has been the most fun I've had this offseason.
SI.com: I'm honored.
Jeter: [Laughing] Yeah, that's a lie. I said I don't lie, but that one was a lie.
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