Bryant Gumbel challenged Derek Jeter repeatedly about his approach as Marlins owner in a lively interview scheduled to air Tuesday night on HBO.
Jeter refused to accept a few assertions by Gumbel, including Gumbel's claim that Jeter's decision to attend a Dolphins-Patriots Monday night football game in December instead of baseball's winter meetings was a mistake.
"You are, or were, in the process of getting rid of the best players on this team, and isn't it your job, as the face of the franchise to be at those winter meetings and explain what's going on? Isn't that your responsibility?” Gumbel said.
Responded Jeter: “No, not necessarily. There’s more to a football game. It wasn't just going to watch a football game. There were meetings that were taking place at a football game.”
Here was one interesting exchange, as provided by HBO:
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.”
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.”
DEREK JETER: “I see your lips. I see. I've been seeing 'em this whole interview. I see your lips moving constantly. You'd never tell your players that you are expected to lose. You don't do that. You should take that as a slap in the face as a player. You should take that as a slap in the face.”
BRYANT GUMBEL: “You expect them to contend?”
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.”
Asked by Gumbel if being Marlins CEO is a job he wants forever, Jeter said: “Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'm enjoying what I'm doing. Like I said, there's still a lot to learn, all right?"
The segment on Jeter, which also includes an interview with his father, airs on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel at 10 p.m. Tuesday.