Derek Jeter Shines the Spotlight on Himself

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.

horace clarkeBut 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 alg-koosman-celebration-jpganother. 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 Jeter retiresretiring. 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, Baseball as circusdesigned 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.


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  1. RAFF says:

    The world has changed since those youthful das you reference. It’s about Maximizing Profit, both now and in the future- and the well orchestrated PROMOTION has just begun. There will be more. Their will be videos, Special Issue Yankee wear, collectibles, commemorative items, Monument Unveilings- and on and on and on. Jeter will be like ELVIS— He’ll still be making for himself and the Yankees long after he is done playing and long after he is gone.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Yes, you are 100 percent correct. It is so odd to me, though, how the mainstream media fawns over these guys rather than point out the shameless hucksters they are. With Rivera the coverage bordered on farce, from what I’ve seen so far with Jeter, here we go again.

      But the days of objective journalism are also gone, goodbye.

      Such is life.

  2. I am going to very respectfully disagree.

    The reality is these planned announcements are rare, because these types of player engagements are so far from the norm.

    When a player spends his whole career with a team, and often as such the teams roster plans are crafted around their existence, providing advance notice is more than appropriate, it is necessary. The cynical among us could say that fine, Rivera, Jones, Jeter, Gwynn and the countless others that say this is their last curtain call as a player are orchestrating a personal shower for themselves, but that really comes from the bizarre adoration that mere mortals place on these other mere mortals with enough ability to play a game at the highest level. I get the idea that they should have just let the team know and go out and play. But I think that is a fairly impossible thing to keep quiet.

    Moreover, on the flip side of the coin, had Rivera for example, just hung it up after game 162 last season with no advanced warning you would see a mash of headlines, from praise for a great competitor all the way to calling him selfish for not allowing people to properly say goodbye. That is to say, the way we work as humans in a press drama world, there is no way these guys can win.

    To me though, when a team has planned and built their process around you, it is only fair to let that team know this is the last hurrah. It is then up to the throngs of idol worshipers to then decide how awkward they want to make the exit. Jeff Wilpon probably took the first prize in the Rivera showcase, I doubt he will be any less spectacularly stupid when Jeter rolls into Queens.

    That Steiner Sports Collectibles snaps photos, arranges autographs, and then sells them to willing patrons, I think that says more about the person willing to pay for a picture that has magic marker ink on it than it does those making it available.

    • I don’t have much feeling about this. Jeter has had a great, great career. It will be overblown and hard to stomach, but I guess he’s earned it as one of the most respected players in the game. We’ll be glad when it’s over.

      • My god, I will definitely be glad when the parade ends that much is certain. The distance from the Mets owning New York in the mid to late 1980s to now is cavernous.

        Nothing is more pleasing than knowing that as of some point in October of 2014, Derek Jeter and the Yankees dynasty will finally go to rest.

        The Yankees were not only good, and willing to spend money, they were extremely fortunate. The odds of them ever putting another quartet of Rivera, Jeter, Pettite, Posada on the same roster in the same time frame is slim, very slim. Not to mention Bernie Williams.

  3. Don P says:

    I was watching “the Sports Reporters” this morning and Jackie McMullan had an interesting comment. Granted it was related to the “Mt Rushmore” issue raised by Lebron.

    She indicaed that Tim Duncan would likely retire aftr this season; Without fanare, without attention, without a farewell tour. To put it in perspective Duncan is arguably the best power forward in NBA history. (4 time champion, 2 league MVP’s 3 championship series MVP’s, etc) Jeter is a great player but not nearly the best shortstop of all time.

    Tim Duncan is exiting with class, Jeter is looking to be center of attention. That’s ok with me, but we should acknowledge that part of Derek Jeter.

    • “Likely” but she nor he is sure. If he was definitely going to retire, he would know it and would not be able to keep it a secret. And yet, people would likely not care because the guy as good as he is has been basically a ghost, in a ghost city in an increasingly ghost league.

      You are defining it as you want it to be defined. I can guarantee you that if Jeter kept his lips sealed and said after game 162, this was it, people would rip him to shreds for not allowing them to say good bye with fanfare. That is the double edged sword these guys walk on. He can’t win.

  4. ERAFF says:

    Sybok: I couldn’t help but notice your pain!
    “God”: My pain?
    Sybok: It runs deep, share it with me!

  5. RAFF says:

    At what point in our lifetimes were any but a scattered miniscule minority of sports writers ever Objective Journalists? The vast majority of sportswriters have always been along for the ride on the Bandwagon.

  6. Brian Joura says:

    I think Patrick hit the nail on the head here — it’s tough for these guys to win.

    The reality is that these guys have fans throughout the league and If I was a Derek Jeter fan living in KC — I sure would want to know when the last time he was going to be there was.

    Maybe the solution is to announce your retirement and make a request that instead of gifts – all teams donate to Wounded Warrior Project or whatever charitable foundation the athlete prefers.

    • Or, MLB could just make an edict that players retiring do not get parting gifts of any kind.

      I can’t even remember what it was that the Firehat gave to Rivera, I just know he did it with zero dignity and total humiliation toward Met fans.

  7. Frank Dunne says:

    I wonder if the club has something to do with the year long retirement roadshow? It is very Steinbrenner-esque for them to put the aging stars up to that. It is the Yankees that cash in on this. I do have to say, throughout both DJ and MR’s career they were very low key for the stars they were.

  8. […] the hallowed Cardinals, with the “Cardinal Way” crap, and Jeter, oh don’t even get me started again. Okay, I guess that wasn’t that […]

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