Full disclosure, if somehow the name of the blog is not clear enough. I’m a Mets fan, not a Yankees fan. But as I’ve mentioned before, I’m no Yankee hater. Certainly when the two teams play each other I want the Mets to win. And I’m not above having some fun and poking Yankees fans when I can.
But I am also a lifelong New Yorker and have many good friends who rooted hard for the Yankees when that was a hard thing to do. The Yankees of my youth were the Yankees of Horace Clarke and Rich McKinney. The Mets had Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, won a World Series, and played in another. During this period the Yankees were relevant once, when two of their pitchers, Fritz Peterson, and Mike Kekich, went public that they swapped wives. My point is that none of this bred jealousy.
Eventually George Steinbrenner bought the team and reversed the fortunes of the franchise by investing in the product. And those kids who rooted for Horace Clarke have now seen much more success in their lives than I have. Now I know this is politically incorrect on a Metsblog but I figure good for them. Mostly though, I just don’t care, except in 2000, when they played the Mets.
Why this ramble today? I wanted to be crystal clear that what comes next is not the result of any pent-up, misdirected anger. It is pent up, but my direction is clear. I am not a fan of hypocrisy, or nonsense. And everywhere I look this week it is all I see.
In case you came out of a coma seconds before reading this and haven’t heard, Derek Jeter is retiring. That would be fine, if he would just go home now. But nope, Derek feels compelled to give everyone notice, and not two weeks. Jeter is giving everyone the entire year.
Now folks, let’s be real, only an insecure narcissist does this. And Jeter’s lack of character, his need to hog the spotlight and profit from his departure is what it is. We should have all learned a long time ago that athletes are just human beings, and many times have serious character flaws. Announcing your retirement a year ahead of time shows weak character (and, yes, I’m looking right at you, too, Chipper and Mariano). It is totally unnecessary, other than as an act of self-promotion. It’s also not that big a deal. The act is not what bothers me. The reaction is what drives me crazy.
With Rivera last year, it was a year-long circus, culminating in a staged event during a game, designed so that Rivera, Pettite, and Jeter could profit. Signed photos were available from Steiner Sports within one day. And everyday all year, as the circus rolled from town to town, we heard over and over what a self-effacing, humble man Rivera was. Mariano Rivera was a great pitcher, and may be an overall great guy. But a humble man tells the circus to go away, a truly humble man does not encourage attention to himself. Let’s please call things what they are.
Now Jeter, jealous of the attention that Tanaka was getting at his arrival, makes his announcement the next day. Fine, Derek, like Rivera before him, needs it be about him. But just like Rivera, the selfish aspect of this announcement is being ignored. Instead, just like Rivera, over the top accolades about Jeter’s character have followed the announcement. In both cases the hypocrisy is what rankles me. Within these reports it would seem logical to at least mention how sad it is that they ended their careers in such a classless fashion. I just don’t get it.
Well, now I’ve said it, and I feel better. And I think it’s only fair that I say this too. Derek Jeter is a great player, a Hall of Famer. I appreciate being able to have seen him play.
What a shame that his last act is bush league.