There are those who claim Derek Jeter is overrated. That opinion will likely grow louder later this week and into the weekend as people grow even more fatigued by the Jeter love-fest and its conclusion.
But one thing even the harshest Jeter cynic would have to admit is that the soon-to-be-retired Yankees shortstop was, on the surface, one of the more humble famous athletes in North American sports history. Who knows if it's true (we don't REALLY know ANY of these guys), but with what we've seen over the past 20 years - it seems as though Jeter "gets it."
There are just two chinks in the armor, and they both involve - of course - Jeter and women. Nothing illegal here, just some Hall of Fame, non-Centaur egotistical athlete stuff. In December of 2011, the NY Post ran the following:
Yankees star Derek Jeter, one of New York’s most eligible hunks since his split with longtime gal pal Minka Kelly, is bedding a bevy of beauties in his Trump World Tower bachelor pad — and then coldly sending them home alone with gift baskets of autographed memorabilia.
The Yankees captain’s wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kiss-offs came to light when he mistakenly pulled the stunt twice on the same woman — forgetting she had been an earlier conquest, a pal told The Post.
Derek has girls stay with him at his apartment in New York, and then he gets them a car to take them home the next day. Waiting in his car is a gift basket containing signed Jeter memorabilia, usually a signed baseball,” the friend dished.
“This summer, he ended up hooking up with a girl who he had hooked up with once before, but Jeter seemed to have forgotten about the first time and gave her the same identical parting gift, a gift basket with a signed Derek Jeter baseball,” the pal said.
“He basically gave her the same gift twice because he’d forgotten hooking up with her the first time!
My friend's cousin dated Derek Jeter for a while and had keys to his apartment. According to the story she entered one day to find him butt ass naked on his couch watching highlights of himself and bumping his chest with his fist saying "YEAH JEETS, YEAH JEETS".
And a second "Yeah Jeets" tale:
I actually kinda believe this. Only because one of my friends claims he knew a girl that went back to Derek Jeter's place one night and proceeded to go down on him. As she performed, Jeter put his hand on her head and said "Yeah Jeets, yeah Jeets," as she kept going. I believe it was a soft "yeah Jeets" as opposed to a screaming bumping "YEAH JEETS." But it's close enough. I never knew if it was true, but if someone unrelated has another "Yeah Jeets" story, it is gaining some validity to me.
Jeter finally touched on the gift basket story this week, days ahead of his retirement. In an interview with NY Mag, Jeter says the gift basket story is kinda, sorta untrue. What, you think he's gonna actually admit to doing this?
[Jeter] learned that often the best way to deflate a story is to ignore it. The Post once claimed that after sleeping with women, Jeter would leave a gift basket of signed memorabilia in the car taking the “conquest” home. He’s avoided commenting on the item for three years. But he’s still annoyed. “Like I’m giving them signed baseballs and pictures of myself on the way out! Who comes up with a story like that?” He laughs, incredulous. “It said the reason people found out was because I gave the same girl the same basket and I had forgotten I’d given her one—like there are so many people coming through I forgot!” Even if Jeter were cheesy enough to have handed out souvenirs, he’s far too careful to have made that kind of mistake.
Good behavior combined with savvy strategizing—Ian O’Connor’s biography, The Captain, describes how Jeter asked party guests to check any cameras or cell phones when entering his home—has enabled him to both stay out of the gossip rags and cash in on endorsement deals. Don’t get him wrong: Jeter has had plenty of fun, and he’s grateful for all the opportunities his life has provided. Yet fame and fortune have costs. One photograph in Jeter Unfiltered catches him in silhouette staring out the open window of a car. It was a Sunday afternoon, after a game at Yankee Stadium, and Jeter was stuck in traffic on the West Side Highway opposite the weekly free-form barbecue festival in Riverside Park. “It made me think about how I haven’t been to any summer barbecues for over 20 years,” Jeter tells me. “I’m looking forward to having one next summer.”
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS