Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The gifting ceremonies for Derek Jeter are growing hideous

Call it "Farewell Fatigue," but we're now entering Month XVIII of a non-stop Yankee goodbye tour, where the smiles look crocodillian, the handshakes are frozen, and pre-game ceremonies resemble smuggled-out footage from some mass Moonie wedding in North Korea. From the moment last winter that Derek Jeter announced his impending retirement, the 2014 Yankee season morphed into a YES Network version of that "very special episode of Little House on the Prairie," which we are supposed to watch with loved ones - which means, of course, there must something better on MTV.

Consider yesterday in St. Louis. The Cardinals - pretending to have a long and meaningful history with Jeter - presented him with cuff-links, yes, cuff-links, inscribed with the image of Stan Musial, their patron saint. Fine. Ka-Ching. The cuff-links, of course, are the farewell gift version of a fruitcake, or steak knives. I suspect the Cards execs have a crate of them roughly the size of a phone booth, which they bestow upon every sponsor and prospective buyer of a luxury box. But what is the point in honoring Jeter? There was no modern Yankee rivalry, or hardly any interaction, between the Yanks and Cards during Jeter's entire career. They are just giving an obligatory gift, which everybody knows is crap, and they probably figured Jeet already has an iPad. When Springsteen comes to town, do the city fathers give him a Chuck Berry tie-clasp?

And there was another Big Check - $10,000, to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. Ka-Ching. Thankyouverymuch. Who can find fault a donation to charity? Certainly not me. But isn't there something shady about a sports team giving money to a charity run by one of the wealthiest men in America, whose main function is to shield tax money and provide photo ops? Every star athlete in America - after signing the $100 million deal - sets up his or her foundation. To help the kids. I'm not suggesting these shell games are insincere or phony, but do any of you ever send them money? Hell no.  But these baseball teams pretend Jeter's charity is the Salvation Army, and that he is Mother Theresa. He's not. He's a ballplayer.

These going-away tours are a tradition we will eventually despise. In a few years, will we be expected to lavish gifts upon Big Papi and Albert Pujols? Of course. Their teams honored did Jeter, so we will return the favor. When Chase Headley retires, what should we get him? A Rolex watch purchased on Times Square? These farewells are baseball's version of Jeter's legendary gift baskets for one-night stands.

What Jeter deserves in each city is a standing O when he comes to bat, and maybe a chant of his name in the final inning. The speeches, the ceremonies, the gifts? Spare us - and spare Jeter's garage, where they will all end up. Nobody is going to ever sit on a bench made of baseball bats, or wear those ridiculous cowboy boots. I'd rather watch a very special episode of Little House, with loved ones, of course.


John M said...

This is Jeter they're trying to honor. Where are their heads at? Cufflinks are bullshit, benches, checks, all crap.

Virgins. Given his history with young starlets and singers, I think there must be one great-looking up-and-coming (no pun intended) talent (no double entendre intended) in each city who can be tied to giant wooden stakes in center field while natives chant 'Kong' or something appropriate.

Now, that's a tribute to the man, right there. Tell me Jete wouldn't be happy to pack a few gift baskets for every road trip if he knew what he could look forward to.

Alphonso said...

John M,

You've got it right !

Also, Duque, you are so spot on. This is absurd, embarrassing and, once 'tis done, may never be undone.

Didn't the Whit Sox give him a box of
dirt ( supposedly from shortstop area) ? I hope Kansas City gives him some freshly picked corn.

This isn't Derek's fault entirely, but why didn't he just play out the season and then retire?

Ken of Brooklyn said...

In my fantasy of WWJD, he would have played out most of the season in good form, then announced just before they did/or did not make the playoffs.
Of course, he's not in top form, so this was a smart decision to soften everyone's critique of his play, take out the guess work & remember the good times ( he's earned it!). Even more likely in my mind, the front office had an edict to milk this scenario for all it is worth after seeing the succe$$ of Mo's retirement last year ( also WELL deserved).
The flood gates have now been opened- like pointing to the sky on homers or praising god when your song about cunnilingus wins a Grammy, it's become the new ( marketing) norm, esp if you've become a 500 team.

bennyboy said...

Jeter isn't Mother Teresa?

John M said...

Benny....no, Carlos Beltran is Mother Theresa.

KD said...

Those "big" checks. give me a break. It would be difficult, granted, but even I could write a $10,000 check. This is beer money to these people, Jeter included, obviously. color me very, very unimpressed and tired of the whole damn thing.