MLB Hot Stove: Jeter Negotiations Make Yankee Fans Miss “The Boss”

Kate Conroy@@ladylovespinsSenior Analyst IIDecember 6, 2010

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20:  Members of the New York Yankees attend the unveiling of late team owner George Steinbrenner's monument prior to playing against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

My hometown is a small island known as New York City.

Numerous pro-sports teams bear the words New York on their jerseys.

Fans and players alike wear their respective team’s apparel with such pride.

No matter the number or name, or whether it’s game-green or pinstriped, they all represent the same special place.

This is why the last few weeks have been so tough, as the talk turned to obsession regarding New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter.

Jeter was the talk of the town, which is no easy feat in the Big Apple, and not necessarily something you want to go through.

It’s a city of ego, making jealousy an easy path to choose and Jeter isn’t so hard to envy.

With a resume consisting of professional athlete, Yankee captain, not hard on the eyes, easy-going, polite, five-time world champ and an endorsement list that rivals Michael Jordan—who named a sneaker in his honor—caused New Yorkers to get nasty.

Other than Jeter’s desperate need for an off-the-field stylist, try and find me a guy who wouldn’t want to be Derek Jeter for a day, because he is living the dream.

Looking back on Jeter’s contract negotiations, the emotions were not so jealously driven as much as I felt betrayed.

Baseball is a business, but the players are still people.

See, Jeter is not just a shortstop or a professional baseball player to most of us Yankee fans. This made it very personal for us.

If George Steinbrenner were still alive, I doubt he would have allowed any dirt to be kicked on the captain.

Darryl Strawberry reiterated this sentiment by stating:

"George would roll over in his grave if he knew the way they're treating Jeter," Strawberry told the New York Daily News.

"The Boss never would have let this happen. If the Boss was alive, there's no question they'd pay Jeter. I got to know George personally, and I know how much he cared about his players. And Jeter was like a son to him. I'm telling you, this wouldn't be happening."

See, the New York Yankees are under a new regime for the first time since 1973.

Passing the torch to his sons Hank and Hal, it has become clear that the only similarity seems to be their last name.

Say what you want about “The Boss,” but no one can deny his determination to win and anything short of perfection just wasn’t good enough.

Many of Mr. Steinbrenner’s decisions were controversial, ridiculous and unreasonable at times because he was a baseball fan. That true passion would constantly supersede his decision making as an owner.

The sons seem to be disconnected from the actual love of the game.

The fact that Hank and Hal even left the door open for Jeter to wear another uniform was all the proof I needed.

The initial pitch of $45 million for three years is measured as generous when compared to baseball in its entirety.

Let’s not forget that this is the Yankees, who play in New York and they have always been a different kind of beast.

“The Boss” did not strive to be an average person and he surely never ran the Yankees with that sentiment.

As he once said:

"When it comes to hiring, number one for me is loyalty. I want a person who's devoted to the task."

Unfortunately, Mr. Steinbrenner no longer has a voice and I don’t think Yankee fans are used to baseball being purely about business. It is something only time can heal.

I guess New York never realized that “Our Boss” was first and foremost just another Yankees fan.

For now, I am just happy our captain is back.


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