I'm sorry, did I miss something? Has the hot stove season started two months early? Did we skip right over the September races, the primary playoffs and the World Freakin Series? No? I didn't miss it all? Then why have I been paging through the tabloids and tabbing through the blogs and only seeing columns talking about Derek Jeter's contract for next year?
Yes, Derek Jeter's unprecedented 10-year contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the 2010 season. Yes, it would be very odd for either party to part ways with the other. Yes, giving Jeter anything over $10 million per annum would be overpaying for declining talent. No, Yankees fans don't care and fans of other teams should just be glad that baseball players get treated like human beings, unlike in football. These facts are true: we don't need to rehash them!
Enough! Enough of this pretentious prognostication about pennies and enough of this writing of history books before history is done telling its story! Can we baseball fans just sit back and enjoy division races and the possibility that a National League player might win the Triple Crown for the first time in a billion years? There are other great stories in baseball. A man threw a baseball 104 MPH the other day! Another man got fired for being a jerk!
So sit down for a second, dear reader, and witness the True Voice of Reason talk about what all this contract talk is doing to poor Derek Jeter:
"All the people doing the talking are shortsighted, very shortsighted," Suzyn Waldman said. "I don't think any of the talk, any of the stories, affect Derek at all. Everybody is jumping to conclusions because they need something to talk about."
"You're watching a career go full circle," Waldman said. "It's not over, trust me. Wait and watch how this season plays out. Stop looking at it game to game. Baseball is a game of attrition. Let's see where Derek's standing in October. Then shoot your mouth off."
Feel stupid now? Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman just told us that Derek Jeter doesn't care what we think. You want to criticize him for swinging at too many pitches? Fine, Jeter doesn't care. You want to point out that he's on pace to make more outs that he's ever done before in a season? Fine, Jeter doesn't care. You want to cringe every time he comes up with a runner on first, fearing the GIDP? I do too, and it seems that the greatest shortstop in the history of the New York Yankees couldn't give a hoot.
This private business matter doesn't concern you or me or your Aunt Helen or some schmuck columnist for the New York Post. Sure, we can speculate and waste ink, but in the end, it's between Jeter, his agent, and a private corporation that doesn't need to answer to stockholders. As for us Yankees fans, Jeter has accumulated enough goodwill for fifteen years that I'm sure we can afford to lend him some of our own goodwill by sitting back and appreciating one of the hardest-working players I've ever seen.