In a world where every member of the sports media lines up enthusiastically to lap up whatever fluid comes out of Derek Jeter's penis, we now have a new champion when it comes to Jeter's canonization. It comes from Ian O'Connor at ESPN, and it made Ken Tremendous cry. Come take a look at this shit.
The ball was in the air, disappearing into the kind of white clouds Norman Rockwell loved to paint…
Yes, because if there's anything Norman Rockwell is known for, apart from creating fully realized illustrations of the wet dreams of modern Republicans, it's painting clouds. Rockwell is practically synonymous with clouds, much like Monet is renowned for his series of depictions of old Chevys in his backyard.
…and Derek Jeter watched it the way a child watches a runaway balloon floating across a midsummer sky.
For it was not merely a balloon, it was an allegory of INNOCENCE CHASED AND FOR A FLEETING MOMENT RECAPTURED. That's what baseball is, you know. Baseball is the MAGIC OF CHILDHOOD, a feeling of grandiose wonder and joy we always return to in our darkest moments. You know, if you're a sportswriter who's into the most horribly clichéd, weepy metaphors ever devised. It's like someone took a Mitch Albom book and condensed it into a single sentence, which is just five sentences shorter than an ACTUAL Mitch Albom book.
He was young again.
He was of a balloon-appropriate age!
We were all young again.
Oh my God! Derek Jeter just hit a random career milestone! My pubes are receding! Suddenly, I like T'Pau again! DEREK JETER HAS BENJAMIN BUTTONED US ALL!
After all those years of resisting temptation, of honoring the better angels of his nature…
This is the guy who fucked the living shit out of Minka Kelly and Mariah Carey and hundreds if not thousands of other women, right? Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that being a Yankee meant being some kind of superhuman breed of asshole monk.
…the captain of the New York Yankees…
GOD HE'S SUCH A LEADER. LOOK AT HIM LEAD THE CHASE FOR THAT BALLOON.
…had finally sold his soul to the devil.
Was this Faustian bargain worth it?
To turn back time and make us all into wide-eyed Partridge Family viewers once more? You are a hateful, horrible person for even asking.
Were you in the ballpark at 2 p.m. Saturday when a diminished 37-year-old athlete forever struggling to get the ball out of the infield sent David Price's 78 mph curveball going, going, gone for his 3,000th hit?
I was there. I'll never forget it. The clouds were downright Rembrandtian. I have no clue what I was doing when they announced bin Laden was dead. I was probably eating grapes or something. But Jeter's 3,000th hit? FROZEN IN MEMORY UNTIL THE DAY I DIE. Or until Wednesday. Probably Wednesday. Because that's when Jeter will eat his 4,000th mozzarella stick, and that immortal memory will likely push out the whole hits thing.
Hell yeah it was worth it.
Listen, we all expected sportswriters to wax poetic and behave like blithering idiots when it came to this milestone. But God, seeing it happen in real time is just so excruciating. Don't you people know we all dreaded this from you? Would it have killed you to do something else that day, like chase a balloon, or play stickball in the street with Billy Crystal?
The script was so wonderfully absurd, the shortstop said, "I wouldn't have even bought it."
"Really good baseball player gets 3,000th hit in an absurdly overhyped moment? YOU CAN'T WRITE THIS SHIT."
Jeter didn't merely become the 28th major leaguer and first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits, and the only man not named Wade Boggs to do so with a homer…
HE BECAME RODIMUS PRIME.
…he turned the afternoon into a this-is-your-life review of his greatness, claiming five hits and the winning RBI against the Tampa Bay Rays and choking the life out of the non-stop talk of his imminent demise.
So true. Now no one will EVER talk about Derek Jeter being really old and not being able to hit anymore, even once he gets really old and can't anymore, which is pretty much now, spare for a few anomalous instances.
One last time, with feeling, Jeter was No. 2 in your program and No. 1 in your heart.
Funny how things work out.
YOU FUCK! THAT'S REILLY'S LINE! How dare you co-opt Rick Reilly's standard line for any story about a three-legged racehorse or a sprinter with MS?
"Funny how things work out. One day Ashley Harrison lost her voice. The next, she was a champion coxswain."
"Funny how things work out. Doctors said Lenny Armitage would never walk again. Now he's powerwalking to the top."
Jeter hadn't hit a ball over the Yankee Stadium wall since June 12 of last year…
But now that he's hit a homer for the first time in 17 years, I think we can safely put to rest any talk of his decline.
…but on this day the mighty Casey would not strike out.
"What other tired reference can I toss in here? Surely, there's a Grantland Rice quote to be used."
"I grew up with these fans," he said.
He rewarded them with a simple gift. By playing baseball the way he played it in his prime, Derek Jeter made everyone in the house feel like a little kid.
And presumably, the fact that we're all now little balloon-chasing kids means we'll actually fall for a column like this.
Ian O'Connor is the author of The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter.
YOU DON'T FUCKING SAY.
Thanks to Ape for the photo still.