Jeter Farewell Tour Offsets Summertime Blues

By: Alan Levy

My family’s summer tradition of going to a Yankee game reached a crescendo this year, as we made our way to visit family in the Dallas area, just in time for the Rangers to say farewell to Derek Jeter. Globe Life Park is an amalgam of various stadiums. It has the right field upper deck from old Tiger Stadium, a mock Yankee Stadium facade, a shorter version of the Green Monster from Boston, and even some Camden Yards brickwork. But what the stadium lacks in individuality, it more than makes up for in food.

Everything is bigger in Texas.

This is Michelle Obama’s worst nightmare. Calorie counts with commas; not a salad to be seen; fried everything for the asking. There is a hot dog that’s about two feet long and weighs three pounds. If you add the condiments, we’re talking about something you can work out with. Helmet ice cream sundaes do not come in those cute little cups, but in REAL HELMETS! (This meets fantasy status for me.) Being in the heart of Texas, they had the obligatory barbeque restaurant, but they need a little marketing help when my 18 year-old daughter asks me if there’s something wrong with wanting to go eat “Nolan Ryan’s Meat.”

But back to baseball. During the Jeter farewell tour, every team is providing gifts and donations to his charity organization. We were lucky enough to witness the Rangers’ going away party, which included running out a bald Pudge Rodriguez and fit-looking Michael Young to represent the team. Of course they couldn’t come up with anything original and gave him a pair of cowboy boots and a check (they should have given a little more considering he only hit .279 against them in the postseason). They did pull out one surprise – former President (and former Rangers owner) George W. Bush came by to personally present Jeter with a plaque.

The most interesting thing was witnessing the reaction to the ceremony. Even though the crowd was about 30% Yankee fans, everyone was on their feet, cheering and saying goodbye (and for die-hard Rangers fans, I’m sure it was “good riddance”). This scene was repeated for every at bat, especially the last one where Jeter unceremoniously popped up to first to end a mild threat (is there any other this year) in a one run game. As a lifelong Yankee fan (and someone who has had a notorious man-crush on Jeter since 1996), I found a new appreciation being able to witness this in person, seeing Jeter being celebrated on the road – transcending the sport a la Ripkin. I just hope that we can count on Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen or Clayton Kershaw to pick up the baton and become a worthy “face of baseball.”

Just Sayin’

You know times are tough for Tony Romo when a rodeo clown at the Ft. Worth Stockyards is mocking him during a show.

When did a baseball pitcher’s career expectancy get shorter than the life expectancy of a 1970’s era rock band drummer?

If Doug (Muscle Hamster) Martin has a comeback year for the Buccaneers, then Giant GM Jerry Reece will have to answer for getting out maneuvered in the first round of the draft two years ago.

Fantasy Football Update: I’ve got the fourth and ninth pick in two of my drafts this year – looks like I’ll be feasting on leftovers.