The hubbub surrounded Derek Jeter’s non-defense of the boo birds’ fave target, Alex Rodriguez, was already noted in this space yesterday.  While the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman doesn’t possess a byline photo nearly as intimidating as that of his colleague The Slammer (above), he’s more than ready to hop in the ring with WFAN’s Chris Russo.

Was anyone surprised Chris Russo used all the A-Rod bashing as a vehicle to trash Yankee fans? Russo, suddenly concerned with A-Rod’s feelings, got major bang for his buck.

By becoming A-Rod’s defense attorney, albeit an insincere one, Russo not only got to rip Yankee fans, whom he despises, but also Jeter, the most popular Yankee.

Only a week working solo, without Mike Francesa, would provide Doggie with comparable joy.

Still, it was only a matter of time before Russo would escalate his attack on Jeter, making it personal by moving into an area having nothing to do with the A-Rod situation – Jeter’s role as an endorser.

“Jeter is doing too many commercials,” Russo said Wednesday. “Right now, he’s all over the place. Jeter is overexposed. … He gets too much exposure.”

Russo’s sudden concern over Jeter’s “exposure” was a feeble attempt to portray the Captain as a greedy individual. It’s not like Jeter is making live appearances in these commercials. The spokesman roles have had no effect on Jeter’s on-field performance. That is the bottom line.

Russo did not mention this fact. He was too busy calling Jeter a “phony” whose only concern is his image.

“He (Jeter) comes from the Tiger (Woods)/(Michael) Jordan school. The school of ‘Be accessible, but don’t say anything,'” Russo said. “… Don’t go out there and say something to put yourself in a negative light.”

What a contradiction. In this case, if Jeter was actually looking to take the path of least resistance, he either would have admonished fans for booing A-Rod or served up pablum when asked the question Tuesday night. Instead, his response opened the door for Russo, and others, to cast him as the heavy.

Sorry to digress, but I think it is terribly unfair that Bill Rafferty — already an established commentator in one sport —- is allowed to cash a soccer paycheck by working under the name “Shep Messing.”