Thursday, June 5, 2014

2 comments Hey Rick Reilly, Writing a Letter to Derek Jeter's Children is Kind of Creepy

The Derek Jeter Appreciation Tour has continued for most of the summer. Along with this appreciation comes puff pieces about Jeter and his accomplishments as a MLB player. Most of these tributes are pretty innocuous and well-deserved, but then there is the occasional article where the author should take a cold shower or a brief break before posting what he/she has written. AND THEN, there are those who get very carried away writing about Jeter and end up writing something that is incredibly embarrassing. You know, those people who write a letter to Derek Jeter's non-existent children on the topic of their father's baseball career. "Those people" are Rick Reilly and it's a little creepy to write a letter to someone else's children. I ask this a lot, but I have no idea how this article got posted on ESPN.com. It's not only a bad idea, even for someone like Rick Reilly who seemingly has tons of bad column ideas, but it's just a little weird.

To Derek Jeter's kids (whenever you come along):

Writing letters to someone else's children is just a little weird. It just is. I can't argue with anyone about this. If Derek Jeter wanted his kids to read a letter about his playing career he would do it or just cue up one of the thousands of videos online of his MLB career for his children to watch.

You were born too late to know your father the way we did,

And Rick Reilly knows Derek Jeter well, which is why this isn't an interview with Jeter and instead is a creepy stalker letter directed towards Jeter's unborn children.

Don't you like how Rick is playing the "insider sportswriter" role here as if he has special access to Derek Jeter? It's almost like Rick isn't talking about one of the few sports superstars that few know anything about. Seriously, does anyone know anything really specific about Derek Jeter other than he likes attractive brunette women? But no, Rick will pretend he knows something everyone else doesn't and that he truly knows Jeter.

so I want to take just a minute to let you know what he meant to us.

He meant the Braves didn't win two more World Series in the 90's to me, so I'm still pretty pissed off about that. 

He was a kind of prince in baseball cleats, George Clooney in pinstripes,

A Chris Cornell in cleats, the Neil Patrick Harris of outstanding clutch plays, and the John Grisham of shortstops. 

He was humble and handsome and yet hard to hate.

Does Rick Reilly know that Derek Jeter is humble and hard to hate? I would seriously doubt that he knows Jeter personally enough to know this is a fact and not just a set of characteristics he's looking to project onto Jeter.

He was like a good magician. You could never figure out how he did it.

Dedication, hard work and talent he cultivated within himself through this hard work. Doesn't seem too hard to figure out.

He was the best player in baseball for a good 10 years straight and yet he never won a batting title, never won an MVP, never was the highest-paid player in the game.

"I'll take ridiculous observations that casual fans of baseball would make for $100, Alex."

He spoke to the media every day, yet managed to say nothing.

BUT RICK KNOWS JETER IS HUMBLE! HE KNOWS THIS BECAUSE HE PROJECTS THIS QUALITY ONTO JETER. 

He never showed up in the clubhouse with a black eye to explain, a headline to deny or a photo to justify.

No, but his spending the night on the town was questioned at one point, which lead to this VISA commercial. It was all much ado about nothing, but I think it's funny that sportswriters tend to forget that Jeter did hit the town in the younger years. He was quiet-ish about it, but he wasn't quite the stay-at-home guy that writers like Reilly want to remember him as being.

"He could sense trouble coming," said his best friend, former teammate and retired catcher Jorge Posada. "We'd be at a restaurant. He'd say, 'That guy in the blue shirt. He's going to come over here and ask for an autograph.' And sure enough, 15 seconds later, the guy would be standing at our table."

Two things:

1. Since when does an autograph seeker count as "trouble"?

2. Derek Jeter is incredibly famous in New York and around the United States, so the fact he thinks a guy looking at him will come over for an autograph is simply a reflection of his fame, not a reflection of his heightened senses.

How he was loved! In a league full of bloated steroid cheats, he kept the same body, the same weight, the same helmet size.

By the way, Jeter won World Series titles and part of his legacy is tied to the team success that was assisted by steroid cheats, but let's completely not mention this okay? Writers and players point out Jeter is a winner and the ultimate champion, while differentiating him from the steroid cheats, but always conveniently leave out part of Jeter's legacy is what it is because he played with a list of steroid cheats. It's all part of the game the media plays. They manage to separate Jeter out from the steroid cheats, give reason to taint the accomplishments of these cheats, but refuse to see Jeter's accomplishments in any way tied to the accomplishments of these cheats.

In a world of my-agent-doesn't-want-me-to-play multimillionaires, he played hurt more than we know. "Most of the time, he wasn't 100 percent," Posada said. "He'd come out of spring training and tell me, 'I'm already hurting,' but he wouldn't tell anybody else. He just kept going."

I'm interested to know who Rick Reilly thinks the my-agent-doesn't-want-me-to-play multimillionaires are, but I'm guessing he can't name one.

Your father was everything men wanted to be. The guy with the $15 million Trump Tower penthouse. The dude dating Miss Universe. The man with all of the talent and none of the jerk. He was everything women wanted, too.

No kid wants to hear this shit about their father, even kids who aren't born yet or may never be born yet. Rick Reilly is writing a letter to Derek Jeter's semen right now. Pretty creepy.

The elegant athlete who loved books, paid for everything, and had a limo waiting for them when it was time to go.

He had a limo waiting for him when it was time to go, BUT BOY THAT JETER WAS HUMBLE!

The stat-heads scoffed at him, but then the stat-heads never figured out a way to measure the things he did.

Yes, it is difficult to measure hyperbole, intangibles, and anecdotal evidence...most likely because they don't exist in a way where they can be measured.

Some guys would lean over the wall in foul territory to make a catch. Jeter would launch himself over it, sometimes two rows deep. He'd come out with a bruised face, a cut chin, and the ball.

He did this once. It wasn't a thing he did a couple of times a year.

Fourteen Yankees were captains, but none longer than your father, and that includes Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Who is going to write the letter to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig's great-grandchildren telling them of their father's accomplishments?

Your father was like a rooster's crow. You could always depend on him.

This letter is getting even more creepy. Now Rick is comparing Derek Jeter to a consistently performing cock. This is after mentioning Jeter's ways with women a couple of times in this letter...not that he is blurring the line between hero worship and creepy of course.

Oh, he had his faults. If you crossed him, even once, you were out forever. If he didn't get to the World Series, he would slip into a terrible funk.

Rick is still writing this column like he had a deep, personal relationship to Derek Jeter. Like he was the Gail to Jeter's Oprah. The Brett Favre to Peter King. The Lance Armstrong to Rick Reilly.

He refused to use public bathrooms unless it was an emergency.

(Derek Jeter begins to walk into the bathroom at Yankee Stadium and sees a shirtless Rick Reilly peeking out the side of it)

(Rick Reilly starts waving his finger for Jeter to come into the bathroom) "Hey Derek, why don't you come in here? I have a question for you. Maybe you could pee in a cup and prove you aren't a steroid user."

(The Jeter) "Nah man, I'm good...I was just walking down the hall."

(Rick Reilly looks around) "There's nothing else down here...and no one else down here. There's no where to go but to the bathroom. Where were you going Derek?"

(The Jeter) "I mean...I was...I thought about heading to the bathroom, but I only go if it's an emergency and I've decided it's not an emergency."

(Rick Reilly) "I saw you coming from down the hall doing the pee-pee dance. It certainly looked like an emergency (removes his shoes and socks). Come on in the bathroom and use one of the urinals. I'll be right behind you."

(The Jeter) "Nah, I don't use public bathrooms except if it's an emergency and it's not (runs the other way)"

(Rick Reilly whispers) "No one knows you like I do. We should be together."

Nobody had to yell at him much. He threw right, hit to right and did right. He began a foundation called Turn 2, which helps kids growing up in lousy situations, and he gave far more to it than money. One time, he showed up to watch a hapless Turn 2 Little League team. Not only hadn't they won a game, they hadn't even scored a run. When they finally scored one that game, he celebrated as though they'd all just landed on the moon.

This certainly sounds like a story that Jeter could tell his children himself. Not to step on Reilly's toes in this really creepy letter to Jeter's unborn children or anything.

He had this way of making you feel you belonged. Before the first World Series game at Yankee Stadium after 9/11, President George W. Bush was to throw out the first pitch. Everybody was tense. Jeter walked up to Bush and said: "Throw from the mound or else they'll boo you."

If Jeter was really helpful he would have told Bush there were no WMD's in Iraq. That would have been super-clutch of him.

Yet again, this sounds like the kind of story that Jeter could tell his children himself. So I'm still not sure why Reilly feels the need to be so weird.

He was hilarious, but he didn't want you to know it. In his final goodbye season of 2014, I asked, "Who would you cross the street to avoid?"
"You," he said.

Rick Reilly laughed as Derek Jeter stood stone-faced staring at him, being absolutely serious about his answer. Rick then put his hands around Jeter's neck and pretended to choke him in the hopes someone would take a picture of it. What a jokester that Jeter was, saying he would avoid his soulmate on the street. If Jeter avoided Rick Reilly then who would be around to tell Jeter's non-existent children about his exploits on the field?

When his body just couldn't do it anymore, it was bittersweet. Nobody loved playing baseball more than your dad, but he was ready. "I'm going to finally see what Europe is like in the summer," he told me. "I've been on a schedule my whole life. The plan now is to have no plan."

You can feel the personal connection Jeter and Reilly had. It's palpable. In fact, the personal relationship between Rick Reilly and Derek Jeter is the Derek Jeter of personal relationships. It's the best.

After that, he said he was going to settle down and have a family, which was unthinkable. Derek Jeter settling down? It was like an eagle deciding to take the bus. Glad he did, though, because genes this good shouldn't be wasted.

Plus, it gave Rick a chance to mail in a creepy column where he pretended to write a letter to Derek Jeter's hypothetical children. I'm assuming Reilly didn't tell Jeter of his plans to write a letter to his hypothetical children or else there would have been mention of a restraining order in the news somewhere.

Of course, who are we to believe these quotes from Jeter are even accurate? I mean after all, Rick is the guy who misquoted his own father-in-law.

If there was a better man in sports, I never met him. Your father was a gentleman. A charmer. A 1,000-point star.

Jeter and Rick are going to get married, get married on the top of a mountain at a wedding no one else will be invited to and then have a baseball field of children who will have this letter read to them by Rick and Jeter every night before bed.

He was ours for 20 years, but he's yours now, and I just wanted you to know how lucky you are.

I would ask how this column slipped by ESPN's editors, but I'm assuming they let Rick do whatever he wants to these days. And what Rick wants to do is be extra-creepy and write a letter about how great their father is to Derek Jeter's children that don't exist. He wrote a letter to semen. Just when you think Rick can't be more lazy and more terrible, he goes and lowers the bar for himself one more time. 

2 comments:

Eric Long said...

I love the contention that Derek Jeter was the best player in the game for 10 years. Which 10 years? Barry Bonds was the best player in the through the 90's (even before the steroids). Then, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez were probably the two best players. In fact, in most years, Derek Jeter wasn't even the best SS in the league (offensively or defensively). But Jetes had heart and intangibles, so he must have been the best ever at being the best ever, right?

I also find it hilarious that Rick Reilly thinks it is appropriate to write an open letter to Jeter's future children extolling the virtues of being a man-whore (or the guy every woman wants, as Reilly put it). As you stated, is this really something Jeter's future kids would want to hear about. Not that there is anything wrong with dating LOTS of women, but really, Jeter has dated LOTS of women. Kudos to him for not marrying somebody he didn't want to marry, but this isn't exactly the kind of material that belongs in a letter to his kids.

The other thing, is that Reilly writes a letter to kids that quite possibly Jeter does not want to father. What if Jetes doesn't want to be a dad? What then? Nice assumption that Jeter being the all-American perfect guy/ball player means he is going to have kids some day.

Finally, any address to unborn kids always brings me back to Mike Tyson wanting to eat Lennox Lewis' fictional children (funniest monologue ever). Better watch out Jetes! If you upset Reilly, he may just go all Mike Tyson on you and decide he wants to eat your fictional children.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, heart and intangibles are all that really matters in the end aren't they? What's interesting about Jeter is his greatness is thrown down the throats of everyone so often that people (like me) will put up a wall and not be able to acknowledge his greatness sometimes.

This was creepy. No doubt. Reilly is clearly coasting into his writing retirement. Jeter has to have kids now, right? The letter is written. No going back now.

If Reilly does eat Jeter's fictional children then I have no doubt then he will make a few dentist jokes about the cavities Jeter's children caused him.