Derek Jeter Q&A (Cont.)
SI: The day of the spring training press conference in which Alex Rodriguez admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs for three years, you spoke out on behalf of the clean players. David Cone said you took a leadership position and sounded like a player rep. Why did you speak up then?
DJ: The whole thing was, everybody tried to make it sound like that whole era was like it was the Steroid Era, that everybody did it. And I didn't agree with that. So, one, it was annoying. And I felt like it had to be said. Because people were saying, 'Oh, everybody was doing steroids.' No, that's not true. Look at how many people were caught. What, a hundred and something people? So there were a lot of people that didn't do it. So that was irritating.
SI: You played when steroids were easily obtained and used, there was no testing for them and they provided an edge for players. So why wouldn't you use them?
DJ: I'm not trying to sound like anything, but my dad was a drug and alcohol abuse [counselor], so I was pretty well educated about it. Growing up, I was pretty well educated about it. Regardless of what drug it is, alcohol or whatever, my sister and I were always taught about the risks of doing those kinds of things. So my whole thing was that I would never want to disappoint my family. The temptation just wasn't there, you know what I mean? It never crossed my mind.
Then they talk about, 'Oh, everybody knew in clubhouses. Everybody knew this guy was doing this...' Think about it. The position I'm in on our team... If somebody is doing something on our team, who is the last person they would talk to about it? It would probably be me, right? You know what I mean? So I would be the last one. It wasn't like it was an open conversation in clubhouses about what was going on. I never felt that urge to do it because of how I was brought up. And I'm not trying to sound better than anybody else, it's just that growing up with a drug and alcohol counselor . . .
SI: You have a great relationship with Yogi Berra, who has 10 world championship rings. What has it been like getting to know Yogi?
DJ: I always appreciated the ex-players. Being a Yankee, you get spoiled. Old-Timers Day, all these guys coming back, spring training, being around them, you get a chance to get to know them. So I always think you learn a lot by listening. A lot of times young guys come up and know everything and they want to talk all the time, but you can learn a lot by watching and listening. So I like to listen to the old players talk to each other and tell stories.
Yogi started teasing me maybe after we won our third one [in 1999]. We won back-to-back and he said, 'You've got three more to go to catch me: five in a row.'
You can't catch Yogi now. They went straight to the World Series then. I get on him all the time. 'Yogi, it doesn't count. You went straight to the World Series.' He says, 'Oh, get out of here.' Yogi's fun. A lot of guys don't think they can't learn from these guys. You can learn a lot. Even if you learn one thing it's going to benefit you.
SI: Do you have any plans for when you are done playing?
DJ: I would like to own a team. I would like to be able to call the shots, be able to make some decisions. You're still a part of a team. You're still competing. I like to compete. I'm competitive by nature. I think it would be fun. Once again, I'm not going to do anything unless it's fun. I think it would be fun. [But] that's down the road.
SI: What about managing or coaching?
DJ: Nooo. Because I'd like to have a family one day. And I'd like to be around [them]. Coaching, you're right back to the same travel [as a player].
SI: What do you like best about baseball?
DJ: I just like the game. I like competing. It's hard to put into words, because it's all I ever wanted to do. I only wanted to play baseball. I only wanted to play shortstop. I only wanted to play for the Yankees. My whole life. It wasn't like I wanted to play for another team and ended up in New York. It wasn't like I wanted to play another position and ended up at short. This has always been the dream of mine: to play shortstop for the New York Yankees. And I get a chance to do it.