By Katie Strang


BOSTON — Derek Jeter was not the only one taken aback by Jim Rice’s comments Friday. Rice himself said he was shocked at the reverberations created by his speech to kids at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., and said he was misquoted.

The new Hall of Famer blames the heated Yankees-Red Sox rivalry for the backlash. “What do you expect?” he told Yahoo Sports. “Who are the Red Sox playing? The Yankees. What else do you expect but some controversy involving the Red Sox and Yankees? I was misquoted.”

Rice had been quoted as ripping some of baseball’s superstars – including Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and, oddly enough, Jeter.

“You see a Manny Ramirez, you see an A-Rod, you see Jeter . . . Guys that I played against and with, these guys you’re talking about cannot compare,” Rice had been quoted as saying.

And the criticism of those players did not end there.

“We didn’t have the baggy uniforms. We didn’t have the dreadlocks,” Rice had been quoted as saying. “It was a clean game, and now they’re setting a bad example for the young guys.”

Rice said it should be obvious that he was not targeting Rodriguez or Jeter (although he conveniently left Ramirez off that list) when he made those remarks, according to Yahoo Sports.

“Anybody who reads that story knows I wasn’t talking about Jeter or Rodriguez,” Rice said. “Look at them. Do you see any baggy pants? Do you see any dreadlocks?”

Jeter, who has long been heralded as one of baseball’s best examples of professionalism and selflessness, was incredulous Friday when he found out he had been lumped into the group of players Rice allegedly targeted.

“I didn’t know I was like that,” Jeter said.

When asked if he had much contact with Rice in the past, Jeter said he engaged in nothing more than an occasional “hello.”

“Ask him,” Jeter responded when asked about Rice’s criticism. “That’s a first for me.”

When asked Saturday if Rice’s assertion that he was misquoted changed his feelings on the matter, Jeter responded blandly.

“Does that change anything?” he asked. “I haven’t seen anything he said.”

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