Thoughts on Derek Jeter – Part I

A friend of mine, an outsider to baseball fanaticism, brings an interesting perspective to the Derek Jeter contract negotiations.  I don’t necesarily agree with all of this, but again…it’s an interesting look from an outsider’s point of view:

Derek Jeter, you are not an icon.  You are a member of an iconic team.  I’m sorry that management sought out, budgeted, and paid for a lot of big names, and at a crucial time, you were one of them.  I’m sorry that someone led you to believe that you were irreplaceable, ageless, and, like a skid mark that defies bleach, will never, ever go away.  It’s a shame, really, that you believed the hype that Yankees marketing kept alive, and that sports networks made so much money by showing your team (not just you) play baseball.

Let’s look at this situation through a particular lens –

Brett Favre.

Like you, someone who’s name will forever be associated with one team, during a time when watching that team play was pretty exciting.  Unlike you, he was a man who was loved, not only for his on field abilities, but for (a time) a squeaky clean, good ol’ boy, Wrangler wearing persona.

But look how the mighty have fallen.  He is in the process of going way, way down in the sports lover polls because he can’t admit that football can live on without him.  He can’t admit that a game played without him among the ranks will continue to be played.  But because of who he is, he continues to play.  One can argue that without football, he wouldn’t know what else to do, so he keeps going – against the entire sports worlds better judgement.

Here’s what Favre did right.  He didn’t bring his final years of playing the game down to the fattest contract he could bully himself into.  Be it for ego, or for love of the game, or a refusal to believe he’s done, he didn’t turn his relationship to the sport into a haggling match.

I don’t understand how, after multiple World Series, and a career that could put you in the hall of fame, you still feel you need more.  You’ve done it all.  You’ve gotten a lion’s share of the Steinbrenner budget for overpaid players. ( And let’s face it – you’ll find other things to occupy your time.  I won’t list them, but one of them is sell luxury cars in commercials.)  Now is the time to accept that your time is winding down, show some class, and live out these last years playing the best ball you can in front of the fans who have been cheering you on since you were just barely a man.  Stop acting like a pimp who needs to be shown “respect” from his underlings, and accept that you already have the respect and admiration of the people who care about the Yankees. 

In short – people care about YOU less than you think, Jeter.  Get over it, and take this enormous contract before they hand it to someone else younger, and more excited about being a Yankee, than your iconic self.




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