Just when Yankee fans thought it was safe to go back on the sports pages, there’s a story by Joel Sherman of the Post that’s driven bloggers bloggy. With spring training a mere week away, why must we be faced with the next soap opera already? And why must it star Derek Jeter?
(No, I’m not the one in the photo throwing myself at Jeet. I don’t own a Giambi jersey or a pair of skin-tight white shorts. Nor have I ever run onto the field. Well, in my mind I have, but that’s for another post.)
The gist of Sherman’s article is that Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million contract will be up in the fall of 2010, at which time the Yankees will be confronted with a Major League Dilemma.
Do they sign The Captain to another huge contract, even though he’ll be a 37-year-old with declining skills? How can they not pony up to keep the veritable Face of the Franchise – the guy who’ll have the most hits in Yankees history? If they keep him, where will they play him? If they let him walk, where will he end up? Is this a game anybody wins?
It’s enough to make me go mental.
But I pulled myself together and came up with some solutions – all of them allowing the aging Jeter to remain with the organization for the rest of his life.
1) He’s given an ownership stake in the team, becomes a Steinbrenner Son along with Hal and Hank, and changes his first name to Harvey.
2) He becomes The Yankee Emeritus, walking onto the field at the end of every game and making a “Thank you for being such great fans” speech, like the one he delivered at the Stadium finale.
3) He relinquishes his endorsements of Ford trucks and men’s cologne and instead pitches products geared for his own demographic.
4) He becomes chairman of the Yankees Assisted Living Facility, a luxurious compound for active seniors.
5) He purchases all the food for the Yankees restaurants.
6) He replaces Kate Smith and sings “God Bless America.”
Of course, what I’d really like to see happen is for time to stand still and for Jeter to be the Yankees shortstop in perpetuity. Amen.