Thursday, February 20, 2014

We're into Week 2, and the Yankiverse is already feeling Jeter Farewell Fatigue

Yesterday, Derek Jeter rendered unto the world his first final news conference. The questions were deferential - as they should be - and Jeter handled them with absolute grace and integrity, and he always has. You could almost hear Redsock fans gagging in the chowder, as the prospect of Jeter's year-long farewell tour grows like a tumor in their Pedroia-sized skulls. 

But I dunno if I can take it either.

Listen: This is not about Jeter. He seems to have the right perspective about his place in baseball and maybe the universe. But it's quite clear that the nation's sporting media never will. If every time Jeter speaks about life after baseball, the assembled Gammonites must weep into their keyboards, as they did yesterday, none of us will escape 2014 without a tick of Tourette's.

Again, the problem is not with Jeter. The problem is with the story, which is to say there is none. There is no plot, no character arc, no development. You simply have a player who has given his life to the Yankees, made a boatload of money, screwed a small city's population of supermodels, and still avoided scandals in the most scandalizing place in the world, who is trying to retire in the most graceful way possible, but it won't be easy, because we're going to re-live this non-story 1,000 times between now and October, and we just finished a similar one with Mariano, and dammit, I dunno if I can take it.

There are short stories, and there are novels, and there are screenplays and there are verses sung around campfires by the ghost of Harry Chapin - there are many ways to tell a tale - but every one requires a plot and a character, and the Jeter story - folks -  has neither. It's not his fault. He has kept his dignity for 20 years, and he is desperately trying to hold it for one more. We are sad to see him go, and we won't see another one like him in our lifetimes. We hope he finds the happiness in retirement that he gave us as a player. But, friends, that's all there is to say about Derek Jeter, and we're going to have to hear it repeated endlessly, while tears the size of paint balls are raining down from the press box.

It's going to be a long, brutal year. Odds are, the next time you hear that Derek Jeter is hitting .320 and fielding his SS position for the Yankees, you will have Alzheimer's.

I dunno if I can take this.


John M said...

When will the boredom with Jete's boring answers and pristinely boring manner lead to the gift basket blowout, when media vipers jump on the rumors of his personal life?

In a respectful tone, of course, at least at first. The crack that can lead to the crumble of the 20 year facade.

I want to hear what Minka has to say about him. She has a hit show now, she can make an offhand comment or two.

The only thing America loves more than a hero is taking one down a peg, and Jete is no Mariano. No Jesus. No wife. No impoverished childhood. Just babes and parting gifts.

Moe Berg said...

Everybody has skeletons, even Mariano. I know a lawyer who....
I'm sure when the cracks appear they won't be big ones and it will make the Captain even more admirable because it will make him more human.