Saturday, July 09, 2011

Derek Jeter

No one thought Jeter's 3000th hit would be a home run. He hadn't hit a home run at Yankee Stadium since last summer. Odds were it would be a single, the ball fielded & returned to the dugout.  That a fan  got hold of it made it an object of unexpected extraordinary value.

One of the blandest sports superstars of all time, who groomed himself to be a  blank personality & astutely avoided, in an era when the media overlooks nothing,  not only all controversy, but even saying anything remotely interesting. & what does he do? Smacks a home run for his 3000th hit & goes 5 for 5 including driving in the game-winning RBI on a picture-perfect baseball Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. & Christian Lopez, the 23 year-old guy who catches the ball  (estimated value  over $200,000, as high as half-a-mill) is so nice & unselfish that he wants only to meet & hand it to to his hero Jeter.  Sheesh.

There's more. Lopez's girlfriend bought the game tix for  $65  bucks at Stub Hub. She says she won't second guess Christian's decision  (but I bet she does when she plans their wedding). The Yanks gave him front row seats in the Legends Suite for Sunday's game, four suite seats for the remainder of the season including any playoffs & World Series games (Seats the Yanks have trouble selling anyway), plus autographed Jerseys & balls. Taxable gifts.

Derek is building the largest mansion in Tampa for himself & son amour Minka Kelly; 30,875 square feet of space, seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom waterfront English Manor style  home.  Me, I woulda held on to the ball until I talked with a lawyer. A lawyer might advise, "Give it up, ii'll cost you more than it's worth." But I'd have to see the numbers.

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Well, I'm not looking this guy up, to see if he's the world's youngest bond trader or something. If he isn't, he's silly. If the world, in its infinite slapstick wisdom, decides to hand you 200K for catching a baseball, you take it and invest it in a nice low-risk college fund for your future kids. You don't trade it in for a chance to shake the hand of a man who probably spent 200K installing a regulation-size basketball court in the sub-basement of his Gatsbyesque mansion.

As for Jeter's blandness, I'm not sure being "interesting" is necessarily a good thing. (It certainly didn't do anything for Tiki Barber.) I can't remember anything Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith or Ryne Sandberg ever said, but I certainly enjoyed watching them in their primes. And I prefer all of them to the Chad OchoCincos of the world.
Oh, dear god, I looked the guy up. He's a customer service rep in a Verizon store who owes $100,000 in student loans. (How does that even happen?) And he owes up to $14,000 in taxes on the gifts (free seats, etc.) the Yankees gave him.
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