It came as bit of a shock back in February when he made his announcement, though, w/ Derek Jeter set to begin his twentieth major league season, growing a list of aches & pains and a former fluidity clearly on the wane, that surprise dissipated right quick.
More surprising was the timing of Jeter’s retirement revelation.
It did not occur at season’s end, a time when most aging ballplayers make this life-altering decision after having reflected on what’s just been and then likely lay ahead.
Very curious timing, indeed.
Well, not so curious as it is…confounding, once you flash on what may really be going on here.
I’d guess this Jeter farewell tour was not brain-child of Yanks’ starry shortstop who likely would’ve rather announced his retirement after or near the planned completion of this 2014 season and played w/out the added hoopla.
Derek’s no ego-maniac, looking for more booty and needy of mawkish, staged ceremonial from every city on the MLB map. He’s already way popular, richer than most could imagine and got nearly every accolade in the business.
But then there in lay the key word, business.
I suspect other interested, un-named MLB or related powerbrokers had a hand in Derek’s ‘decision’ to make his announcement pre-season, creating a cavalcade of farewell plays and favorable press for the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball both.
It has a Bud Selig feel. Cha-ching!
The farewell tour includes:
Graciously accepting a wide array of well-meant, parting gifts given in local appreciation (or obligation) at every stop he’ll make this last go-round;
In Houston, it’s the finest cowboy boots money can buy;
In Seattle, maybe he’ll receive that super-sized, stuffed salmon he‘s always wanted;
And in Milwaukee I expect either a lifetime supply of Miller High Life®, Klement’s kielbasa or a Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide® Ultra Classic® tour bike in, you got it, pinstripes, and then gives “that Ramada” one last shot (Seinfeld).
There are the milestones that must be marked, announced & analyzed.
Last Sunday Derek moved up to #9 (3320) on the career hits list, passing “The Igniter” Paul Molitor and is in striking distance of Red Sox’ great Carl Yastrzemski (3419).
Another leader-board DJ’s steadily moving up on is the career runs tally.
For some reason this figure ranks as popular w/media as an Umpire Appreciation Day. Even Network of the Sporting Gods, ESPN, gives it short shrift. But to those who really matter on the diamond, managers & ‘mates, run production is high in karat count.
In short-order Jeter will pass the “Grey Eagle” Tris Speaker (#12 / 1882), Larrupin’ Lou Gehrig (1888) and an un-mentionable player currently on suspension, to break the top-ten. And it’s why Craig Biggio (#15 / 1844) should’ve gotten the call last ballot (HOF).
And then there are the ‘lasties.’
Derek’s last time turning the double-play in Anaheim;
His last time laying down a sacrifice bunt in Chicago; and
The last time Derek will ever have to wear one of those god awful 4th of July hats.
In seriousness, the Jeter farewell tour will be chock full o‘ players, fans and restaurant, hotel and stadium employees who’ve come to know this great ball-player over the many years and the final goodbyes will truly be “sweet sorrow (de Vere)” for all parties.
And what might you suspect was the line these promoters likely fed Mr. Yankee, this most popular baseball player since Cal Ripken, to get him to move-up that announcement to a more favorable, beneficial ($) date?
The clincher: ‘It’s not for us Derek, it’s for the fans, maybe you owe it to them, huh? Poppycock.
Derek Jeter doesn’t owe us anything, nothing, nada, zilch-o. And fair enough to say the reverse of that statement is true as well. Just call it even-Steven.
And by the time this farewell tour plays out in October, most of us will probably wish we’d never heard the name Derek Jeter, at least for awhile, anyway. And then expect ESPN, MLBN and maybe even the majors (AM shows) to all come a’ calling with fists full o’ cash. Now THAT should be one hellacious bidding war.
The Derek Jeter saturation is a shame, for it’s a name, whose fame, beckons acclaim, for representing the best in the game.
Can o’ Corn
Photo Credit: D. Jeter / K.Allison – flickr / 9-9-06 / wc.cca
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.