NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter had a copy of the New York Post and a perplexed look on his face as he arrived Friday at Citi Field, expecting to play a Subway Series game and instead stepping into a minor controversy.
The Post cover pasted Jeter's head on a chicken's body, a creative take on Mets closer Frank Francisco's assertion that the Yankees are a bunch of "chickens" who "complain too much."
"I've seen myself worse in the paper," Jeter said, "I'm pretty sure. I don't know. I don't understand. ... Why am I on it?"
That was a fair question. Francisco boasted that he had struck out the side against the Yankees in 2004, when he whiffed Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi, and that he would relish the opportunity to do it again this weekend.
"I don't know how I got dragged into this," Jeter said. "I don't understand what [chicken] means. I can't be insulted by something I don't understand."
Some of Jeter's teammates seemed amused. Rafael Soriano charged through the clubhouse on Friday, asking bystanders, "What's up, chickens?"
Russell Martin accepted a reporter's cell phone to glance at the Post cover and laughed. Ivan Nova flipped through the paper at his locker and stashed it for later, saying he wanted to read it more closely. Nick Swisher said he wasn't amused by the print copy, but Rodriguez clearly got a kick out of the fowl references.
"What was it? What kind of chickens?" Rodriguez said. "Like organic chickens? Rotisserie chickens? I like chickens. I like mine grilled, tasty. Chickens can be good."
And Francisco's comments might have unwittingly helped line the Yankees' pockets; Yankees manager Joe Girardi was told by media relations director Jason Zillo that the team has suddenly been fielding calls from chicken companies.
"Jason informed me we had three chicken companies call us today calling to be sponsors of the Subway Series, so it might work out well for both teams," Girardi said.