Back in July, we interviewed Yankees shortstopDerek Jeter. We tried to get Jeter to address rumors that he was dating Friday Night Lights bombshell Minka Kelly, but he wasn't biting. So, when we were recently asked if we'd like to talk to Jeter about his involvement in the Gillette-EA Sports Champions of Gaming Tournament, we figured this would be our second crack at getting some info from the four-time World Series winner. We also discussed the upcoming election, video games, baseball and much more.
SI.com: Tells us a little about this gaming tournament.
Jeter: It's the Gillete/EA Champions Tournament on Xbox Live. Do you play video games much?
SI.com: Not really. But for people who do, this sounds impressive because they have a chance to play against you, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry.
Jeter: Yeah, but I don't know how much fun fans are going have playing me.
SI.com: Why is that?
Jeter: Because I'm not very good. But I'm working on it. I'm working on my skills. But, yeah, the amazing thing about this is that it's a global tournament. You're going to have people coming from all over the world to play against each other and then coming up with the global champion. I think it's something a lot of people are excited about and looking forward to.
SI.com: Do you play Xbox at all?
Jeter: A little bit. But I really need some time to work on this.
SI.com: Have you played Guitar Hero? I interviewedJoba Chamberlain a couple of months ago, and he said he and a few others would play in the locker room sometimes.
Jeter: That's the younger generation. My generation is into Miss Pacman and old Atari games.
SI.com: Have you watched the postseason at all?
Jeter: I've seen highlights, but I don't sit around and watch the games. If I'm not in it, it's kind of tough for me to sit around and watch a whole game. But I catch highlights, and obviously, living in Tampa, I hear a lot about it.
SI.com: Being that this was the first time in your career you weren't in the postseason, how hard was the first week of the offseason for you?
Jeter: It was weird the last week or so of the regular season after we got eliminated. With the exception of 2001 when we played Game 7 against the Diamondbacks, this was the first time I knew when our season was going to end, and that was a very weird feeling.
SI.com: Speaking of the last week of the regular season, how was that last game at Yankee Stadium?
Jeter: The last game was pretty special. The fans were outstanding. They let the fans in a 1 p.m. that day for a night game, so for them to be as loud and energetic as they were at 11:30 when the game was over says a lot about the Yankees' fans. It's something that all of us will definitely remember.
SI.com: And how about that speech you gave on the field after the game?
Jeter: Joe Girardi took me out in the ninth inning, so I had to hurry up and think of something to say. I just made it up, but I got a lot of positive feedback on it, which was great. I appreciated it.
SI.com: What do you think about the new Stadium?
Jeter: It's pretty impressive. They have everything in there -- museums, conference rooms, restaurants. It's about 500,000 square feet bigger than the old Yankee Stadium. I think the fans are really going to enjoy going to games there.
SI.com: Do you ever come back to New York during the offseason?
Jeter: Not really. I usually just come back for Christmas because my parents are in Jersey.
SI.com: Speaking of your parents, I've always wondered something. They're often shown on the YES network during games, and I've always wondered why they're not in the front row. You're Derek Jeter. Can't you get your parents front-row seats?
Jeter: Do you think they have bad seats?
SI.com: They're not bad. But they seem to be far back in the lower level. I would think they'd be in the front row.
Jeter: (Laughing) They like their seats right where they are. They're only like five or six rows back.
SI.com: OK. My bad.
Jeter: (Laughing) You just called me a bad son, Jimmy.
SI.com: I apologize. I'll move on. We saw you at the Missouri-Texas game with Roger Clemens a couple of weeks ago. From what I read, you got booed pretty heavily.
Jeter: Not really. There were a few boos, but I guess that means I'm doing my job.
SI.com: Were you going to see Clemens or did you go to Texas specifically for the game?
Jeter: I was down there in Texas and Rocket was coming down because he went to school there. He's been bragging about Texas football for years so he invited me along to go.
SI.com: You're a big Michigan Wolverines fan. Compare a college football game at Texas to one at Michigan.
Jeter: There are more people at a Michigan game. But football in Texas is huge. You're talking about high school football, college football. People really, really follow football there. But it's similar. I mean, they're both college towns, Ann Arbor and Austin. I thought the fans were great in both stadiums. So they're pretty similar.
SI.com: Now I also have to ask about the other person we saw you at the Texas game with, Minka Kelly.
Jeter: (Laughing) You know I'm not going to tell you anything, Jimmy.
SI.com: Well, can you deny it now?
Jeter: Deny what?
SI.com: That you're dating Minka Kelly.
Jeter: Well, you saw me doing what?
SI.com: We saw you at the game together.
Jeter: At a football game. How do you know we were together, Jimmy?
SI.com: You were standing next to each other on the sidelines.
Jeter: How many other people were at the stadium?
SI.com: Lots. But nobody else was standing next to you.
Jeter: (Laughing) Rocket was right next to me to, wasn't he? (Still laughing) You know you're not going to get anything from me, Jimmy.
SI.com: OK. Let me ask you this. Do you watch Friday Night Lights?
Jeter: Yeah, I watch it.
SI.com: Do you like the show?
Jeter: It's a great show.
SI.com: Who's your favorite character?
Jeter: (Laughing) That's pretty good, Jimmy.
SI.com: Even more than the World Series or anything else in sports, the thing people are into these days is the election. Do you have election fever?
Jeter: I think everyone has it. Like you said, everyone's excited about it. Everyone's looking forward to Nov. 4. It's going to be interesting. I think it's great when you see all the interest there is around the country. Everyone's talking about it.
SI.com: Do you know who you're voting for?
SI.com: Would you like to tell us?
Jeter: Nah, I'm not getting into that, either. I'm not getting political with you.
SI.com: Fair enough. Before we wrap up, as a Yankees fan, can I make one request of you this offseason?
SI.com: Can you promise me and all Yankees fans that you won't start studying Kabbalah?
Jeter: (Laughing) Don't start with me about Kabbalah. I went to Catholic school.
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