You cannot tell the story of Derek Jeter without telling the story of Alex Rodriguez. So ESPN’sThe Captain” documentary series was always going to spend time on their complicated relationship. And now they’re really wringing every last drop of drama out of it.

Jeter will be an in-studio guest with Yankees play-by-player Michael Kay and Rodriguez for the next “KayCast” alternate broadcast. Which is next weekend when the Yankees play the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball (and a few days after the series’ grand finale on Thursday night).

There was always going to be a Derek-versus-Alex component to the series. But their journey from friendship to falling-out to wary teammates has perhaps gotten a bit more play than you would have expected. There are likely a few reasons of that.

The first is one Jeter devotees won’t want to hear: All parties involved concluded his career was not necessarily compelling enough to keep a national audience captivated. Jeter was great, but he isn’t Tom Brady or Michael Jordan. So they leaned into the sexiest storyline. Just like the baseball media at the time everything unfolded.

The second: This series has not reached the hagiography bar of “The Last Dance” in our opinion. But Jeter had creative say. It’s not an unimpeachable product of journalism. And it would be naive to dismiss the possibility there is a measure of score-settling going on.

Jeter clearly still harbors animosity toward Rodriguez. We don’t know how much, but there is obviously still an edge there. And Rodriguez seems almost overeager to take his medicine in an effort to finally heal the lingering wounds. Or to grease the skids for his entrance into Monument Park down the road.

Anyway, this three-man weave will likely underwhelm. But you never know if you don’t tune in. Which is why ESPN is doing this.

James Kratch can be reached at


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.