I was out and about on Sunday, so I missed seeing the Derek Jeter Day festivities live. But since some of my (not so) adoring fans want to know my opinion of the event, I watched the whole ceremony online (click here to see it for yourself.) Here are my thoughts:
* Unlike other people, I am actually fine with doing the Derek Jeter Day during the season. (Hey, Yankee catcher Jake Gibbs got a day when the season was still going on, too, and most Yankee fans don't even remember who he was!) I was also fine with the nice tribute video.
* I am not so fine with the special patches, and the balls, and the bases and the flags. Don't get me started on the flags -- they are ridiculous, especially having them ring the stadium. But Jeter and the Yankees and Steiner Sports will make a mint on these items, especially when the Captain signs them. And thanks to the event happening with three weeks in the season, they will make even more money. Oy.
* While that stuff is tacky, the Yankees were the opposite of tacky in the Jeter gifts. It ticked me off last year when the Yanks gave Mariano Rivera a rocking chair made of bats. After all, Ron Gardenhire of the Twins had already had such a chair made, with the broken bats of Minnesota hitters! On the other hand, the Jeter gifts -- the massage therapy machine, the Waterford crystal, the Tuscany trip, the All-Star patches, the $222,222.22 check for his foundation seemed thoughtful and tasteful.
* Another difference from Mo's day? No Brandon Steiner on the field. Also, the guest list was very good -- every single guest meant something. Was more surprised at Dave Winfield being there than Cal Ripken Jr. and Michael Jordan, the so-called surprise guests. But Michael Kay, stop with the Michael Jordan of Baseball stuff. Jordan was the greatest NBA player of all time. Unless Jeter changes his name to Babe Ruth, he is not the greatest MLB player of all time.
* The crowd didn't seem that excited by it, but for me, one of the most moving parts of the ceremony was seeing the Jeter's Leaders on the field (and keep in mind, those were only some of the young men and women helped by Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation.) Anybody can set up a foundation, but to have it actually help people, year after year, is something to be admired and cherished. And Jeter set it up when he was just 22.
* Yankee public address announcer Paul Olden finally gets to utter Jeter's name. That's a first, isn't it?
* Jeter's speech was excellent, and hit all the right notes in just three minutes or so. Teachers in public speaking ought to use that as an example for their students.
* That "2" wreath was terrible, though. Looked like a funeral wreath!
* I didn't get to see the tribute videos that ran between innings, but I heard that Robinson Cano was booed. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner ought to have been the ones booed -- for not keeping Cano!
* Anyhow, I thought the day was mostly fine. The game, not so much!