As Jeter Talks Turn Ugly, The Question Is, Why?
Tyler Kepner’s piece in Wednesday’s dead-tree New York Times begins with a “Casablanca” reference, something that’s always welcome.
In “Casablanca,” Rick tells Sam, his beloved piano player, that the owner of the Blue Parrot wants to hire him and double his salary. Sam dismisses the offer.
“I like it fine here,” he says, adding, “I ain’t got time to spend the money I make here.”
Shouldn’t everything be that way? Don’t we wish that people who are already set for generations could not act insulted when offered even more riches?
Cut to: Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees, currently in discussions about a new contract for the 36-year-old shortstop and Yankee fixture, who unfortunately just submitted his worst-ever season in a salary-drive year following an expired 10-year, $189 million deal.
Jeter has made more than $205 million from the Yankees. He likes it here. The Yankees like him. The sides have had 10 years to think about their next agreement. Did it really have to get nasty?
It didn’t have to, but it’s entirely predictable that it did.
The Yankees are offering Jeter three years and $45 million. Jeter’s rejection brings to mind Jack Nicholson’s question in Chinatown:
At one point [Jake] Gittes asks millionaire Noah Cross (John Huston) why he needs to be richer: “How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford?”
What Jeter can buy with a bigger contract, he believes, is respect – the coin of the realm in the sporting world.
But here’s what the hardworking staff recommends:
Jeter should follow the lead of – God forgive us – Alex Rodriguez, who in 2007 sidelined his agent and made his own deal.
Memo to Derek: You’ll find real respect in how you act, not what you earn.