Derek Jeter is not dead.
The Captain is very much alive, but the New York Yankees still plan to honor the veteran shortstop by wearing commemorative No. 2 patches for the remainder of the 2014 season.
ESPN's Darren Rovell brings us news of the Yankees' new patches, which will be visible on players' hats and uniforms starting September 7.
The patches will bear the No. 2 logo signifying Jeter's final season in the league and—of course—will be available for purchase.
Rovell's report paints a picture of a huge, coordinated merchandise push involving the Yankees and their partners over the course of Jeter's last month in the MLB.
The team will use commemorative baseballs, sell game-worn Jeter jerseys and make new Jeter hats available to anyone with extra cash burning a hole in his or her pocket.
According to Rovell, sports apparel giant New Era is putting itself in the middle of the Jeter farewell zeitgeist with a new line of limited-edition hats. The ESPN business reporter reached out to New Era president Pete Augustine, who said the company can barely keep up with demand as the shortstop closes in on retirement.
"As soon as he announced this was going to be his final season, we could see the market was hungry for it," Augustine told Rovell. "We've never seen this much interest from a player perspective, and I'm not sure we ever will [again]. ... We literally can't keep product in stock. We make it, it sells out."
With over 50 Jeter products already on the market, New Era will introduce a limited-edition three-hat box set commemorating Jeter's final September in a Yankee uniform. The set will run buyers $150 and feature the new Jeter patches and the shortstop's likeness on the brim.
The Yankees' decision to wear commemorative patches for Jeter comes as a departure from sporting tradition.
Typically, patches in baseball (as well as other sports) are worn by franchises recognizing a recently deceased player or team associate. In this case, the Yankees are giving Jeter the patch treatment before he's even left the game.
In any case, we're nearing peak "RE2PECT."
Between the hat-tipping, goodbye presents and patches, Jeter's farewell tour has already dwarfed the goodbye blitz his teammate, Mariano River,a experienced in 2013.
Sending off a Yankees legend is no longer a ceremony. It's an industry, and business is alive and humming.
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