Jeter wanted $25 million a year. The Yankees wanted him to take a pay cut. The two sides were increasingly hostile toward each other, using the newspapers to draw blood. Finally, one member of the Bombers’ negotiating team pulled Jeter aside and asked him to consider the team’s point of view.
A reduction in pay was not a sign of disrespect, the executive said. “Look at Al Pacino,” was the analogy he used. “He makes less per movie at 70 than he did at 50. But he’s still one of Hollywood’s greatest actors.”
It was creative, smart and entirely on-point. No one knows if the Pacino reference broke the impasse, because the Yankees left Jeter’s home without any firm commitments. But three days later his handlers called and said they were ready to find a middle ground.
Aa a longtime Pacino fan, I laughed out loud reading this. Because as well-meaning the executive was, the analogy doesn't quite work. Pacino's work as an actor is respected as a whole, and he's a big hit on Broadway now in "Merchant of Venice," but he hasn't had a memorable film role since 1999's "Any Given Sunday."
A better example would have been to compare Jeter to Julia Roberts. She was once the most-highly-paid female star in Hollywood, making $25 million a picture. Now in her 40s, Roberts got around $10 million for "Eat, Pray, Love," but that lower salary hasn't dimmed her fame. However, I don't Jeter would have been liked to have been compared to the star of "Pretty Woman" and "Steel Magnolias"!
But I digress. The thing that made me laugh was talking about Pacino at 50. One of my big pet peeves about Hollywood is that they didn't reward him for the great work that Pacino did in his 30s, in terrific films like "The Godfather" and "The Godfather II," and "Dog Day Afternoon," and "Serpico." Heck, Marlon Brando was nominated -- and won -- for Best Actor -- in "The Godfather," while Pacino, who had much more screen time than him, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the film, along with James Caan and Robert Duvall for the same film. (Joel Grey won that year for "Cabaret.")
Anyhow, it seemed like at some point in the late '80s that Pacino figured that the only way he was going to get an Oscar was to do some over-the-top onscreen histrionics that looked like Acting with a capital A. So the actor who barely spoke above a whisper in the first two "Godfather" films screamed his way through "Godfather III." And "Dick Tracy." And "Scent of a Woman," where he finally won that long-overdue Oscar for yelling "hoo-hah" a lot. That film came when Pacino was 52. Anyhow, this is inside baseball -- make that inside Hollywood -- but other than "Glengarry Glen Ross," I wasn't much digging Pacino's early '90s work!
For that matter, I don't want Jeter to get any overacting lessons from this part of Pacino's career so he can get an MVP -- his pretending to be hit by a pitch last year was quite enough acting, thank you.
Back to the Klapisch article. Here are a few more interesting tidbits:
The problem, all along, wasn’t just the numbers or even the money: it was Jeter’s ego that had to be helped over the finish line. That’s why logic and examples of true market value didn’t resonate until almost six weeks into the process.
That’s why the talks turned so bitter, because no one on Jeter’s side was willing to break the cocoon that insulates him from reality. Not his agent, Casey Close, not his family, not his friends. For the first time since 1996, Jeter was finally refused a request. Twenty five million a year? No way, said the Yankees. Not now, not ever.
That's why I scratch my head and wonder why Casey Close didn't talk Jeter down the ledge a while ago. If they had asked for, say, four years and $80 million, they would have be seen as asking for a lot, but they wouldn't be perceived as delusional. $25 million a year -- for six seasons, yet -- is delusional. Yes, Jeter ended up getting more money from the Yankees, but a more reasonable opening bid would have still gotten him that money -- and kept his reputation intact.
What do you think? Tell us about it!