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Jeter's Icon Precedent

Derek Jeter’s reputation may have changed a bit this offseason. He is a Yankee, and always should be. But it’s a bit off-putting to have seen him stubborn over a few million dollars, when the contract will take him into his late 30’s right after a decline in production this past season. The Yankees, for their part, probably take in an incalculable amount of revenue from Jeter’s name, image and popularity, and this is all aside from his play, so long as he isn’t having a completely horrendous year.

It’s probably this which prompts the Yankees to pay Jeter above what his numbers would command, and this was part of what Casey Close, Jeter’s agent, argued. Close wanted Jeter to be paid as a player, but also as a Yankee icon. But we don’t keep politicians in the Senate if they become senile, or in another way aren’t able to perform the functions of the office, at least in theory. Likewise, a player on a team expected by its fans to win championship after championship should not continue to be paid an exorbitant salary on account of his past reputation, if his numbers are faltering.

As a 20-something Yankee fan, I associate Jeter along with Posada, Riviera, Girardi and Andy Pettitte with the reason that I’m a fan, that being that when I watch the Yankees now, I’m still connected by these guys to my experience watching the Yankees growing up, and you can’t say that about a lot of teams today. I fully expect Jeter to have a great year, and I wouldn’t want to see anyone else in the world at shortstop this season. I’m just hoping that we’re not beginning to pay players and keep them on the field for their marketing value, rather than giving the paying fans what we’re all in it for, that being to watch the best team possible have a great, exciting season and end up winning it all.


  1. I am sure Jeter will want to take some time off after his playing days or done, but my hope is that he always stays a Yankee in some capacity. This team could already use a special advisor to the owners.

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