Derek Jeter And Minka Kelly Aren’t Finished Yet

Oh thank God.  From the New York Post:

Derek Jeter’s baseball season may be over, but his romance with Minka Kelly may have only been on temporary hold, Page Six has learned.

According to sources,the Yankees slugger flew to Miami on Sunday to meet with the “Charlie’s Angels” star.

The two were spotted at Morgans South Beach, “laughing and having a fun breakfast together,” according to spies.

“They met up to try and figure it out,” one source told Page Six. “They are trying to see what the future holds for them.”

“They may eventually get back together,” the source added. “This was not some sort of final conversation and meeting between them.”

Am I the only one thinking Jeter wants to go out with a title and then retire to make supreme offspring with Minka?

[NY Post]

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Derek Jeter And Minka Are No Longer Together

Friday Night Light fans this is your official alert! Lyla Garrity is back on the market. From Just Jared:

Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly have called it quits after three years together, JustJared.com can confirm.

“The split was amicable,” sources exclusively tell JJ of the 37-year-old Yankees superstar and 31-year-old actress. “But they remain friends. They still really care for each other.”

When JJ contacted her reps, they did confirm the split.

So, all you single guys out there, what would you pay to be Jeter’s wingman for a night?

[Just Jared]

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Miller High Life Offers To Pay For Christian Lopez’s Tax Bill

Lopez is of course the fan who gave back Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit and received free tickets to the Yankees the rest of the year.  It has been expected that he would then be hit by a tax bill from the IRS upwards of $10,000.  From CNBC’s Darren Rovel:

Miller High Life, which recently had a campaign to make its beer the official beer of fans, has offered to cover the bill—which could be more than $10,000—for Lopez, who said he has about $100,000 in student loan debt as well.

“Miller High Life believes you should be rewarded for doing the right thing, not penalized,” said Miller High Life brand manager Brendan Noonan. “We want to recognize Christian Lopez, and in turn everyone like him, for doing the common sense thing and help him continue to live the High Life.”

The brand, which does roughly $500 million in annual sales in the US according to Beverage Spectrum, has also offered to throw a party for Lopez with free beer for him and his “legal-drinking-age friends.”

Great move by the company.

[CNBC]

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Good Morning Generation

I’ve never really been a big Yankees fan.  My dad’s a Yankees fan.  Has been since we lived there for a brief stint during my childhood and got a first-hand account of what it’s like to root for the most storied franchise in sports history. He was always attracted to the greatness that was a responsibility, a demand of the franchise.  As a child I always rooted for the Atlanta Braves and my favorite players Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones and so naturally you can see how these ideas clashed during the 1990s.  It seemed like every October I was left disappointed as the murderer’s row pitching staff of the Braves failed, yet again, to deliver more than one World Series.  They almost always lost to those damn Yankees, or so it seemed.  It was during that time that I learned who the greatest player alive was.  Mr. Derek Sanderson Jeter.

I have a saying about baseball fans of my generation.  They were either Chipper Jones fans, Ken Griffey Jr. fans, or Derek Jeter fans.  They were the three best young players of the era and no one came close to delivering the pure starpower that any of those three individuals brought to the table.  Most of the kids who I grew up with were Griffey fans.  It was hard not to like a guy who consistently mashed fifty home runs and wore the best smile sports had seen since Michael Jordan.  He also had by far the best baseball cleats and any kid lucky enough to grab a pair of those no doubt they felt like had landed my generation’s version of the PF Flyers made so famous in The Sandlot.  I personally rooted for Chipper.  For some bizarre reason I thought he had the coolest haircut I’d ever seen–a white person’s take on the high top fade (think: Vanilla Ice style).  I always kind of thought of myself as a more sophisticated fan because Chipper’s teams consistently made it deep in the playoffs while Griffey’s teams consistently failed to achieve their potential.  But I wasn’t seeing the light.  Jeter not only had the game to match Griffey and Chipper, he also brought home the hardware at the end of each year.

People are going to talk a lot about their favorite Jeter moment’s this upcoming week as he gets closer and closer to reaching the 3,000 hit mark.  The three that will most likely come up are the controversial homer in the ALCS against the Orioles where the fan reached over and caught the ball, the flip play against the A’s where Jeter made the shocking decision to rush home plate after a bad throw missed the cut off man and flipped the ball to tag out Jeremy Giambi to preserve the lead and keep the Yankees in the series, and finally the much-hyped dive into the stands where he bruised his face and lacerated his chin but still made the catch.

The biggest memory I have of Derek Jeter came in 2003 in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.  This was during the height of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and it finally appeared that the Red Sox might break through against the team that had historically dominated them.  I can’t remember what game it was.  Heck, I can’t even remember what inning it was.  All I know is I was most certainly rooting for Boston and against the Yankees and that the game was being played at Fenway Park.

The series had special importance because at the time, short stop seemed to be the most loaded position in baseball.  You had Alex Rodriguez pulling down the biggest contract in sports history playing it in Texas, Miguel Tejada leading some crazy brand of “sabermetric” baseball in Oakland, and Nomar Garciapara and his extraordinary ability to stroke line drives in Boston to go along with Jeter.  The game matched up not just two franchises that absolutely hated the piss out of each other, but also marketed two of the biggest faces in the game in a series that would no doubt decide who the best player at the position was and thus the reigning alpha dog of baseball.

Every great player in every sport has a patented “move” or “moves” that were theirs alone and perfectly illustrated what they were capable of as an athlete.  For Griffey Jr. it was the long, looping swing that I’d argue is the best looking in major league history.  That or the incredible leaping catches he’d make to rob home runs.  In basketball, Michael Jordan put a trademark on the crossover pull-up jumper that won him the NBA Finals.  That and his impressive leaping ability which led to the iconic logo of his shoe company.

For Derek Jeter, it’s again two things.  The first is his other-worldly ability to keep his hands back in the zone while he swings the bat allowing him to drive an inside pitch to the opposite field.  The inside out single should solely be the property of Jeter after he retires, with any and all players paying him royalties.  The other is something I’m not so sure he could pull off anymore in his advanced age, but one that he was notorious for during his prime. 

You better know what I’m talking about. 

Deep in that game some right-handed hitter for the Red Sox, let’s say it was Kevin Millar, ripped a shot to the hole on the left side of the diamond between the third baseman and Jeter.  Jeter, almost as if he had anticipated this before it happened, quickly pounced to his right side, fielded the ball on the backhand, and, in one sweeping motion lifted off the ground on one foot, twisted his body 90 degrees, and rifled a throw against the momentum of his body to nail the runner at first base.  It was shocking. It’s the kind of “oh s—” play that makes your mouth drop and leaves an opponent feeling as if they’re going up against inevitability and fate, rather than men in different colored uniforms. 

What made this particular play so fascinating to me was that in the top half of the very next inning, Nomar fielded a similar play, caught it in the exact same back-handed motion, went up in the exact same leaping manner, and fired a throw that was three steps to late and led to an infield single.  Argument over.  Series over.  Nomar would spend the rest of his days in the majors on the disabled list and obscure NL teams that could find room for him when he was available, and never again at short stop.

I can’t tell you how profoundly the image of Jeter making the play and Nomar failing to do so stood out in mind as a young baseball fan.  It was my baseball epiphany.  I still have never rooted for Derek Jeter or the Yankees, but after that moment I understood. I got it.

If there’s something we should remember most about Jeter, beyond the great plays, beyond the world championships, even beyond the Hollywood starlet list he plowed through without a single word of bad print finding the gossip pages, it’s that Derek Jeter was consistent.  Joe Posnanski wrote an excellent piece on this yesterday on his SI blog.  Beyond any other player of his era, Jeter was consistent.  He understood the game, his position within the game and its greatest franchise.  And most of all, he understood that the most vital character trait that could go along with that was consistency.  He always showed up, he always played hard, he always ran out ground balls (and there were many ground balls), he always understood exactly what it meant to be the captain of the New York Yankees.  And he never wavered, never complained, never got caught in the whispers of a steroid rumor.

Say what you will, but Derek Jeter is exactly what’s right about sports and exactly what you should desire in your team’s franchise player.

Even if you’re like me and still hate the god damn Yankees.

Generation Y, where it’s T-minus five days until “The Franchise” debuts.

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New Book To Detail Jeter-Cashman Fallout After Offseason Contract Negotiations, Among Other Things

Good stuff.  From ESPN New York:

The relationship between Derek Jeter and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was seriously and perhaps irreparably damaged during last fall’s contract talks, according to an upcoming book about the Yankees captain by ESPN New York columnist Ian O’Connor.

The book, “The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter,” details a Nov. 30 sit-down in which Jeter, his agent Casey Close and Creative Artists Agency attorney Terry Prince met with Cashman, team president Randy Levine and co-owner Hal Steinbrenner to iron out their differences. The Tampa summit lasted four hours, but Jeter stayed for only the first 45 minutes, telling his employers — especially Cashman — how angry he was that they had made details of the negotiations public.

When Jeter got up to leave the room, Cashman asked the shortstop to sit back down and hear him out. “You said all you wanted was what was fair,” the GM told the shortstop. “How much higher do we have to be than the highest offer for it to be fair?”

Jeter, who had no other offers in his first pass at free agency, ultimately signed a three-year, $51 million guaranteed deal plus an option year and incentive bonuses. But the negotiations were often difficult. When Close told Daily News columnist Mike Lupica that the Yankees’ negotiating stance was “baffling,” Hal Steinbrenner gave Cashman the green light to take the fight to Jeter and Close in the media. The quote that would anger Jeter the most was the one Cashman gave to ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews, who quoted the GM saying that Jeter should test the market to “see if there’s something he would prefer other than this.”

It also appears that the book is going to at least attempt to describe the A-Rod/Jeter dynamic and the Captain’s frustrations with his superstar teammate.  I love reading books like this.  If you haven’t read it already, a similar book by Joe Torre and SI’s Tom Verducci called The Yankee Years is particularly illuminating about the manager’s time in the Bronx.

[ESPN New York]

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Derek Jeter Wants A Six Year Deal For $150 Million

Alas I am proven right that Jeter is indeed being a jerk in these negotiations.  This demand is beyond absurd/ridiculous.  Everyone has been wondering why the Yankees were playing hardball and now you have it.  They were sick and tired of the captain acting worse than A-Rod and so they finally leaked it to the press.  From the NY Daily News:

“Some day, somehow Jeter and the Yankees are going to tie the knot again, if only because it would be suicidal on both their parts not to. But right now they’re at least $80 million apart, probably more, and neither side is budging. If you ask me, the Yankees shouldn’t have to budge off their reported three-year, $45 million offer to their iconic team captain for a lot of reasons. The problem is, in taking the justifiably hard line they have, telling Jeter to go shop their offer to see if anyone else is inclined to even come close to matching it, much less topping it, they’ve now painted him into a corner from which it will be hard to get out of and still save public face.

Better they should have just told the world how greedy and unreasonable Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, are being in this negotiation. To do that, however, apparently would have been to betray an agreement the two sides made going in – which was not to negotiate in the media or reveal each other’s positions. The reason the Yankees’ offer is out there is because whenever a club makes an offer to a free agent it becomes common knowledge in the central offices of baseball and throughout the industry. On the other hand, the players’ and agents’ asking prices never get revealed unless they themselves let them be known.

Throughout this process, Close and Jeter have never revealed what they’re actually looking for – which is why so many Yankee fans, opposing club officials and nationwide media types are asking: Why are the Yankees treating Jeter this way? But sources close to the Jeter/Close camp have said their starting point was six years, $150 million and that they aren’t budging on $25 million per year – which would effectively get the captain about even in annual average salary to Alex Rodriguez, the real benchmark from their standpoint in this negotiation.

I suspect this is why Yankee GM Brian Cashman lashed out the way he did the other day after Close told the Daily News’ Mike Lupicahe was “baffled” by the Yankees’ hard-line stance with Jeter.

Cashman is clearly frustrated. The Yankees made no secret of where they were coming from in this negotiation – that it was a baseball negotiation, a business negotiation, and not a public relations and marketing negotiation. Just the same, they structured their offer to be significantly higher in both years and dollars than any 36-year-old shortstop, coming off a season in which he hit a career-low .270 and his OPS dropped 161 points to .710, also a career low, could expect in the open market. They did that because, as everyone knows, Jeter is not just any shortstop. He is an iconic Yankee shortstop, and, as such, the Yankees are prepared to pay him upwards of $2 million more than any middle infielder in baseball today for the next three years. Add the $45 million to the $200 million they’ve already paid him and, at nearly $250 million, Jeter will have been paid more than any other player in the history of baseball except A-Rod and (when he gets his next deal) Albert Pujols.”

I imagine that Jeter is in actuality probably demanding less than this statement indicates, but at the same time he’s demanding way, way more than he deserves. 

This is going to get good.

[NY Daily News]

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Salute your captain

By Nick Childs

In true Yankees front-office-fashion the Yankees are playing hard ball with Derek Jeter (pun entirely intended).

I’m going to be Jeter’s advocate here and give an alternate take than our esteemed editor-in-cheif, Matt, on this topic. Matt makes very valid points that it is insulting in tough economic times that Jeter isn’t satisfied with the $15 million a year, and I agree that reputation alone should not come into play while assessing a players worth, but with Jeter, there is always something more.

Out of respect and thanks for the devoted service that Jeter has given to the Yankees as well as the city of New York, they should be asking him what contract he wants and give it to him. Write him a black check and tell him to fill in the number. Jeter has been THE icon in New York for the past 15 years and has been the backbone of every championship team they have had in that time, him and Mariano Rivera. For Jeter, this isn’t about the money. He doesn’t need more of it, and he knows that. However, in this instance I think its about pride and respect. Jeter doesn’t ever want to be treated like a veteran player on the decline (even though he probably is skill-wise at this point).

Here is my proposal. Jeter should look into signing with the Red Sox or the Mets if the Steinbrenner brothers continue to pretend like they were ever the mastermind behind any of the teams World Series wins and feel like they should dictate the fate of one of the most important Yankees in history… Lets take a second to let that soak in. I never really thought about it until I typed it, but Derek Jeter is one of the most important Yankees of all time. When you think about a franchise that featured players like the Babe, Micky Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Joe Dimaggio, it is pretty incredible to think that Derek Jeter will go in history with them. It is incredible because it is weird to think that this will-be Yankee legend has been in front of us all this time, and we don’t even understand the legacy that he will be leaving behind.

I think the Steinbrenners will be running the great risk of “you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone” if they don’t give Jeter what he wants. It’s more than mere on field performance. Is there anyone else in that locker room that can hold a team together with idiots like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira? The answer is sort of. Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera can… if they have Derek Jeters help.

If the Yankees can’t sign Jeter, I see a 3rd or 4th place finish in the AL East for them next year… Come to think of it, please don’t resign him, the Yankees finishing behind the Red Sox, Rays AND Blue Jays would be really fun.