Monday, August 22, 2011

Derek & Me

Just viewed the HBO Special about Derek Jeter and his quest toward the 3000 hit milestone. It was very good. Didn't provide all the insight I would have liked but he is such a great guy I just saw it and enjoyed it. After it was over I thought about it for awhile it struck me that our lives paralleled each other in many ways, albeit there is a forty year difference. But what the hell is that in the grand scheme of things?

There were a lot of shots inside his New York apartment high above New York. When I was younger we also had a high rise apartment over a drugstore which had a window which opened to a roof top of an adjacent store. I too could see above our town as we viewed the world atop the stores. If you adjusted yourself on some clear nights one could catch the New York skyline.

Jeter has a "drop dead" beauty for a girl, maybe his future wife. My girl was even more of a "drop dead" beauty AND she kept that beauty into old age. Jeter doesn't know if his girl will retain her beauty but I guess plastic surgery won't be a problem as to cost. One thing I'm certain is Jeter's girl won't be as fruitful as mine, six boys and one girl, especially if he waits much longer in popping the question.

The special showed Jeter with his friends, entourage, in his apartment. A big table with all kinds of friends, male, female, black, white Hispanic. In my house there were always loads of people, Hispanic, male, female, black, white, albino. Sometimes they were spread all over the place but most of the time they found their way to our table. Jeter said he liked to eat, and so did we. His friends gathered around his table eating sumptuous morsels for breakfast prepare by Jeter's Chef who said she knew what each liked and was always prepared to give what they wanted. Well! I had my own Chef too! Except we didn't refer to her as a Chef I would call her more of a Wife which meant she wore many hats, Chef, Mother, Friend, Lover Healer, a person who knew to laugh at my jokes. But she always prepared delicious morsels for us and our friends too, like hamburger helper, Macaroni and cheese, cold cereal, and all that type of gourmet foods.  All she prepared must of been good because everybody kept showing up at the table, just like at Jeter's.

They showed many other aspects of Jeter's life. Every place he went was first class, from the Tampa rehab place the Yanks maintain to the his journey back to Yankee Stadium. He was approaching getting 3,000 hits in a game played by many thousands but only about 30 men have reached that plateau and very few were able to keep themselves, their images as clean as Jeter. He truly is the golden boy. He is getting near the end of his career but he will definitely be a hall of famer. He has as much as 50,000 people cheering for him. He is an true idol. I too have had standing O's with a lot fewer people, I will grant you that and not as consistently as Jeter but what the heck, I had over a hundred soldiers after a week of bivouac give my Trumpet renditions a rousing cheer. I never was quite certain if it was in appreciation of my playing or they were just glad the week was over. Once during a sandlot ballgame that had about fifty people watching I got a standing ovation for a catch I made in left field after I misjudged a fly ball. Many, many, many years later some three hundred people gave a standing O at the end of a few plays I was in. Again I am not sure if it was in appreciation or they were glad it was over and they could go home. BUT what the hell I kind of know what Jeter likes when his fans cheer him.

He finally got his hits that he needed and all the adulation that goes with the accomplishment. Now he is back to being a just a star ballplayer who seems to have resurrected his batting but we know father time is creeping up on him and soon, relatively speaking, his playing days will be behind him and he will come back for old timers games and all that. How he will handle himself will be telling, but I am sure he will have his pick of jobs, he will have a great pension (as if he needs one) and social security. What he doesn't pay into Social Security?
I had to go through this and like Jeter I have a pension, IRA, and Social Security. I went over the hill and slid down the backside of my active career. Of course the comparisons pale when we compare the magnitude of accomplishments and remuneration paid in appreciation of them. But with all due respect, Derek & Me? Not too much difference! Is there?
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