Here is a section of a transcript of an interview Derek Jeter did with Bryant Gumbel, set to air on HBO Real Sports on Tuesday, courtesy of the Miami Herald.
BRYANT GUMBEL: “If you were tanking, would you tell me?”
DEREK JETER: “Tanking? What is— no— tanking?”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Tanking is — not trying your hardest to win ball games in — every day.”
DEREK JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future—”
DEREK JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Not in so—”
DEREK JETER: “Now, you can think — now— now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I get that. But I guess not in so many words—”
DEREK JETER: “But you don’t. But you don’t get it.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “I do.”
DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi— I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got— I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean—”
DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”
I’m breaking this up into sections in part to spare your eyes the task of reading a transcript, which is miserable, but also so that we can marvel together at how baldly dishonest this exchange already is. In order to avoid answering for his team’s shameful and financially motivated anti-competitive off-season behavior, Jeter insists upon having Gumbel define tanking, as if he literally doesn’t know what it is. He does this so that he can zero in on the rough and imprecise definition Gumbel offers, in order to avoid confronting the spirit of the question. This is cowardice.
Anyway, here’s more:
BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I just— I’m— I’m realistic. You really expect this team—”
DEREK JETER: “I expect this team to—”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “—as presently configured to contend—”
DEREK JETER: “—compete, to compete. To compete—”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Compete is one thing—”
DEREK JETER: “Every sing—”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Watch my lips. Not compete.”
DEREK JETER: “I see your—”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “Contend.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “You expect them to contend?”
Derek Jeter absolutely does not expect his team to contend. The only remotely honest answer to this question is “no.” A full answer—one that addresses itself to the actual spirit of the question, and to the perfectly valid concerns of Marlins fans and baseball fans and fans of respectable labor practices—would include that the Marlins organization is focused on making their baseball operation as cheap as they can get away with so that their new ownership group can more quickly get out from under the mountains of debt taken on in order to purchase the team.
DEREK JETER: “I do. I do. If I don’t believe with the— in the players that we have on the field, who’s going to believe in them?”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “But as an executive, it looks like you’re delusional if you believe otherwise—”
DEREK JETER: “Well, call me delusional.”
Derek Jeter is for sure not delusional. Instead, he’s a disingenuous sack of crap.