I missed the All-Jeter Game last night but I’m told it was an emotional Jeterball game in which Derek Jeter jetered a few hits and saved 12 babies that fell from the stands and mowed the outfield so that you could see a crucifix pattern in the grass. There was also a small Jeterversy in which Adam Jeterwright laid down for Derek Jeter (who hasn’t?!) and let him get off an extra Jeter for old Jeter’s sake.
And with that, I think I’ve had enough Derek Jeter for the next 80 lifetimes. You don’t need to be from Boston to feel the primal urge to run up to your rooftop and cry out FUCK DEREK JETER as loudly as possible. Not anymore. Derek Jeter can eat a bag of dicks, and here are a few reasons why.
1. Only an asshole gives himself a one-year retirement tour. Jeter’s all-star appearance last night was treated like a simultaneous memorial for eight cancer kids, even though he still has three more months of baseball to play and people give precisely zero fucks about the all-star game. OH MY GOD IT’S HIS LAST MEANINGLESS LONG WEEKEND VACATION EXHIBITION TELL YOUR GRANDKIDS. If Jeter really were Mr. Classy, he would have just up and left at the end of last season. Instead, we get a full season of breathless Jeter farewell coverage, like a retirement party for an insufferable brown-nosing co-worker, only the party lasts half a year and they’ve barred the exits to Ballroom C at the Best Western so you can’t leave. If you wanna retire, retire.
2. Derek Jeter is a living incarnation of New York City’s worst ideas about itself. I lived in New York for six years and living in New York means you get to treat the rest of the country like it’s the kiddie table at cocktail party. “Oh, Chicago? Go have a seat with Dallas and Denver over in the corner.” Jeter is the perfect delivery vessel for that very specific brand of provincial arrogance. If he had played in Houston, he would have been Craig Biggio Jr. and we would have been spared all this shit. In New York, only New York matters, and so Derek Jeter gets treated as the only baseball player who matters by a cadre of slobbering New York writers who still wish athletes would get shitfaced with newspapermen at Toots Shor’s. You people from outside of New York should pay proper reverence to Jeter, but NEVER forget that he’s not yours. You are meant to worship New York’s prize possession from afar. I’m surprised you can’t buy pieces of him at the 9/11 museum.
There’s this old theory that making it in New York is still a more authoritative kind of success than making it somewhere else (even though people can now work from basically anywhere). Not every athlete can cut it in NEW YORK. Oooh, the papers there are mean and stuff! It takes real backbone not to pick up a copy of the New York Post. And so Jeter is a living embodiment of New York’s self-proclaimed higher standards. Jeter made it in New York, therefore he is better and stronger and braver than everyone else. It’s grade inflation.
3. He’s a useful front for all the horrible shit the Yankees do. The Yankees can strong-arm fans who have to piss during “God Bless America,” and they can bully the city into ponying up a billion for a new stadium, and they can do this in part because they can just roll out Jeter anytime they like as an ambassador of some kind of fabled Yankee Way. Look at those eyes and tell me Hank Steinbrenner doesn’t deserve an extra hundred million in cable fees. For all the supposed tenacity of the New York media and fans, they’ll gladly give a free pass to any Yankee asshole who wins them a few ballgames.
4. He embodies every horrible stereotype about what an athlete is supposed to be. Athletes who go from one team to another are disloyal. And they’re not supposed to talk, or get caught showing their dick on Instagram, or test positive for ‘roids, or any of that. Athletes are supposed to be magical unicorns who materialize from a fucking cornfield and cause sportswriters to burst into uncontrollable epileptic fits of purple prose. Jeter gets a world of credit simply for not being anything. He is a blank canvas on which you get to fingerpaint all your stupid armchair analysis and expectations. That guy … that guy I barely know … he does it the RIGHT WAY. The worst, most childish thing about sports is the undying notion that the games are an apparatus of moral justice, that Jeter wins because he does things the right way. This overlooks not only the entire history of organized sports, but also the facts of Jeter’s own career, which has featured the sort of pettiness and groupie-banging that would typically consign a ballplayer to the media shitlist.
5. ESPN. Once ESPN finds a pet monkey like Jeter or Tim Tebow to work the street organ, they’ll make that fucker grind until it’s just a pile of hair on the sidewalk. Derek Jeter could invent the hoverboard and I’d still hate his guts because ESPN forces him on me every half second. As with Tebow and LeBron, Derek Jeter now serves as a perpetual talking point. “Did anything happen today? Let’s just say the name JETER for an hour.” Jeter is just like any football team that becomes insufferable to you merely for its consistent run of attention. This isn’t really Jeter’s fault. He didn’t build the shit-eating machine around him. But hey, tough fucking titty. He’s Derek Jeter. He should be able to handle it. So fuck him and fuck the Yankees.