The Orioles adhered to the same perspective in 1997 — not even letting the face of their franchise get to free agency. They gave Ripken a raise from $6.5 million per year to $7.55 million per year in what was a two-year extension with an option. Not only was the option picked up at $6.3 million, the Orioles also brought him back at age 40 and with a bad back and coming off a .256 season again without a pay cut, giving him another $6.3 million.
Putting a number on iconic value — especially when introducing a pay cut — is at the heart of the Yankees’ negotiating troubles with Jeter. To compare Jeter in a one-year statistical vacuum to shortstops such as Marco Scutaro is foolish. Jeter is the most marketable player in baseball, has the sport’s highest Q rating, a measurement of not just popularity but also appeal to fans, has accumulated 16 years of tremendous goodwill for the Yankees and is their modern link in the chain of Yankee Hall of Fame everyday players who never wore another uniform, from Gehrig to DiMaggio to Mantle.
Does everyone remember the ad campaign for Blackglama furs? I know, mink coats aren’t politically correct anymore. But the campaign featured legendary women in their minks – from Judy Garland to Janet Jackson.
As promised, there will be a Jeter-related video for each post until the Captain and the Yankees have officially made a deal – no matter how long it takes. (I mean, seriously. Was I supposed to write a post about how Javy Vazquez is going to the Marlins? Didn’t think so.) Tonight’s Jeter video takes us back to simpler times. Way back. So far back that he and A-Rod were close friends for real. My reaction when I watched it was, “Awwwww. Look how young they both were.” Not that I want Cashman to dwell on Jeter’s age. Instead, I want him to see that his shortstop was proud to be a New York Yankee and wasn’t afraid to tweak his buddy about it. (Love A-Rod’s line about how Jeter is “hip hop.”)