I find him hard to crack. Maybe he won’t until he’s played that last game and really breaks open and shares his emotions.”
- Matt Lauer, on interviewing Derek Jeter -
First, Mr. Jeter, thanks for stopping by. We’re all huge fans here at NBC, and it’s an honor to have you. Can I call you Derek?
Thank you. You know, I was reading up about you - so much has been written and said - and I learned that you’ve never been thrown out of a major league baseball game. Not one. That speaks to how you respect the sport, and it’s one of the reasons why you’re such a great role model. Still, I was wondering, didn’t you ever feel a need to argue with the umpires?
No need to be defensive. Whatever your reasons, that’s fine. So... when the umps blew a call, you just decided to sit back and take it? You figured, “It doesn’t matter. I’ll get paid, anyway. If I just keep my mouth shut, everybody will admire me, and when I retire, they’ll shower me with gifts.” Is that what you thought?
Well, whatever you thought, it worked. This season, opposing teams lavished gifts upon you. The Angels gave you a paddleboard. The Astros gave you a pair of pinstriped cowboy boots. Do you ever wear them? When you’re sitting around the mansion, do you ever pretend that you’re a cowboy? Do you prance around, wearing chaps and pantaloons, and rope an imaginary steer? No? Of course, you don’t. What was I thinking? You couldn’t care less about their gifts. Just more crap for the yard sale, right? More trash for the bin! Did you throw your special boots into the dumpster, along with the paddleboard?
Yes, we will edit this interview. But, frankly, that’s not your business. Excuse me - EXCUSE ME FOR INTERRUPTING - but I guess we are quite pleased with ourselves, aren’t we? “Look at me, everybody! I’m Captain of the Yankees! I own a pair of special cowboy boots!” But you didn’t care enough to argue one single call, not one!
No, you just figured that if you respect the umps, avoid scandal and hustle out routine grounders, you’d never have to answer any questions. Nobody would care. Everyone knows how Derek Jeter always runs out routine grounders. Oh, he’s perfect! But maybe this isn’t about hustling out grounders, Derek. Have you thought of that? Maybe people don’t care if you hustle out routine grounders. When you hit a routine grounder, you’re out. Did you think of that before you hit it?
No, we’re not stopping the interview. This isn’t a game, where you can call time-out. I’m not Bryant Gumbel. The cameras are rolling. We’re wasting valuable electricity. Sit down.
You never grew a beard! You supported the Yankees’ ban on facial hair. You didn’t stand up for any teammate, not one, with a mustache. Oh, no, not you! Not the Captain. The Yankee ownership said, “SHAVE!” and you said, “HOW CLOSE, SIR!” Do you have a problem with self-expression? Do you hate freedom of choice? Oh, you’re clean-shaven, all right. No stubble on Derek Jeter’s chin. Everybody loves you. But who are you?
Stop sniveling, damn it! I don’t need another Ann Curry. OK… here, take this Kleenex. Now, I’m going to ask you one question, DEREK, and I want you to think very carefully before you give an answer. Take a deep breath. Ready?