The Jeter Negotiations

December 8, 2010

Sometimes, if you look closely enough, you can find connections among all that’s going in your life and in the world around you. And sometimes all that searching just makes the wires spark and burn out from the effort.

In the interest of preserving my wires, I’m not looking too hard, but a lot’s going on.

I’ve been really intrigued by the Jeter negotiations.

Many sports radio jocks have been bashing Derek Jeter as just another greedy rich player. If you use a real-world lens to look at professional baseball contracts, I could almost see that argument. But it’s the wrong lens. You have to find your Professional Athlete Rules You Can’t Even Imagine Lens. You cannot pull him out of context to examine him. It is wholly unfair to expect Jeter not to negotiate for the best terms he can get just because he’s a good guy. (Believe me: Elmo doesn’t offer photo ops to just anyone. )

For me, this is the bottom line: after all these radio guys are finished whining, there’s always a caller—I was especially moved by one yesterday with a thick Middle Eastern accent—who phones in to say, “Yeah, but I tell my kid every day, you want to grow up to be like Jeter.”

I don’t know why baseball is the sport—the only one—that calls me. But I suspect it’s because of these stories. The stories of inspiring lives lived with dignity and integrity—against all odds—in a world of Professional Athlete Rules.