Derek Jeter
Courtesy: Turn 2 Foundation

ESPN’s documentary series on Derek Jeter has a debut date. “The Captain” starts rolling out July 18 on ESPN and ESPN+.

The hammer quote in the sizzle reel: “Once you win, there’s nothing else to do but to win again.”

Jeter was the only voice featured in the promo package. But a bunch of interview subjects (presumably not an exhaustive list) were also named.

Most were the former Yankees you’d expect — Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Tino Martinez, Roger Clemens — and the handful of relevant pop culture figures these things always have (Desus and Mero, Fat Joe and Jadakiss). But two names definitely stood out attention: Brian Cashman and Alex Rodriguez, both noted Jeter adversaries (Nomar Garciaparra was also listed).

The big question with this project is how real Jeter — the guy who invented The Players’ Tribune — allowed it to be. This will not be an unimpeachable product of investigative journalism. ESPN is in business with Jeter and will pull the punches he wants them to pull. But his sensibilities will determine whether this is entertaining hagiography like “The Last Dance” or just shallow propaganda.


Are we going to get a candid look at his tumultuous relationship with A-Rod, or a sanitized one? Will the full particulars of his contract feud with Cashman be discussed? Are they going to talk girlfriends and gift baskets? Or his rough early days running the Marlins? Will unflattering granular events like the Yankees’ 1999 brawl with the Mariners even be mentioned?

Also worth asking: Is Jeter actually compelling enough to carry a multi-part series like this? He was a great Yankee on great teams that won championships. But Michael Jordan and Tom Brady seem to have much more transcendent stories to tell than he does — at least at first glance. Maybe that isn’t the case. We’ll find out soon.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.