Derek Jeter has been the Yankees’ shortstop since 1995, and in that time we’ve seen Al Gore’s baby, the Internet, morph from a primitive means for science nerds to communicate (yeah, Arapanet!) to a sophisticated network of tubes that allows anybody with a camera phone and a USB cable to get their message halfway around the globe in the time it takes to Google “A-Rod’s manly stripper friend.”
Amazingly, Jeter has somehow managed to stay above the paparazzi fray when it comes to negative publicity, even though he’s one of the most recognizable athletes playing in the largest, media-frenzied market. But that doesn’t mean he’s happy about how technology has made his life more difficult.
From the NEWARK (NJ) STAR-LEDGER:
[Jeter] was part of the last generation of players that didn’t have to worry about their personal lives being spread all over the Internet.
“People had cameras, but they didn’t have camera phones,” Jeter said of his early seasons. …
Mets star David Wright, just 25, says he makes a conscious effort to consider how people would interpret his actions.
“A lot of times, you could be doing something completely innocent and people get the wrong idea and the wrong impression,” Wright said. “It was definitely a lesson learned for me. Now I go out and have fun and do whatever, but I realize that these things are prevalent and people are always looking to spin things in a negative way.”
Jeter, who calls the camera phone “the worst invention ever,” says he has learned to accept their presence.
“Now everyone’s got it in a phone, so everywhere you go, everything you do, you’ve just got to have the philosophy or the mind-set that they’re watching,” he said.
Also according to the STAR-LEDGER, former Mets pitcher-turned-broadcaster Ron Darling admits that things are much different in 2008 than they were in the ’80s:
“Playing in New York, (media attention is) always going to be a problem … You have to assume that everything you can do can be recorded now.”
David Cone zipped up and came in from the bullpen to agree with Darling’s point. Allegedly, of course.