Derek Jeter is known not only for his skills on the baseball diamond, but also for his smooth, even-keeled demeanor. The New York Yankees captain stayed cool as a cucumber during his recent appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Jeter, who is back on the disabled list, spent two segments on the show discussing his battle with the injury bug, funny stories about he and Fallon (it looks like the two are buddies in “real life”) and he even addressed teammate Alex Rodriguez’s steroids scandal. The interview segment is must-see TV for any sports fan.
One bit in particular had Jeter cracking up and the studio audience going wild. Yes, Jimmy (a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan) and The Roots gave Jeter a few suggestions for a new at-bat song. The schtick had Derek Jeter Number Two being introduced with the classic Bob Sheppard recording before he promptly walked up to home plate in the middle of the Late Night stage as The Roots and Jimmy played each ditty.
The fact that Jeter agreed to appear on the show when A) the Yankees are having a bad season B) he’s injured and C) A-Rod and a few of his other teammates are swimming in scandal, is really impressive. Most celebrities pull out of public appearances when faced with far less controversy than that.
Jeter’s alleged parting gifts for lady friends gave him first-ballot entry into the Cool Athletes Hall of Fame, so this Late Night appearance is just bonus points.
Breaking up after 10 years together would be tough, regardless of the circumstances, and Theo Epstein’s split with the Red Sox was just the icing on a cake which had already melted into a big, ugly mess in previous weeks. Despite a disastrous situation by sports standards, the former Red Sox general manager and executive vice president left Boston with a classy, parting gift as he heads to Chicago. Take a look at this full-page ad the native son took out in Sunday’s Boston Globe, thanking the fans, players, coaches and front office staff of the team he dreamed of working for as a kid.
After assembling two World Series Championship teams and ending an 86-year drought, any competitive, driven, perfectionist would jump at the chance to take on the Cubs’ North American sports team-record 103-year drought; especially given the way things unraveled with the Red Sox.
But Epstein isn’t just any competitive, driven, perfectionist. He is a graduate of Brookline High School, just a few miles away from Fenway Park. Epstein’s family roots run deep in the Boston community and his son was born in the city that haled him a hero and miracle worker for what he helped accomplish within the confines of the Green Monster and famous red clay.
I can only imagine that for him to leave his hometown and life as he knows it, Epstein must have thought there was no way he could repair his Red Sox, and that perhaps, they weren’t even his anymore.
There will be no more five minute cab rides to FuGaKyu Restaurant on Beacon Street. No more sitting in the seats of an empty Fenway Park, the same seats in which he sat as a child rooting for his home team, soaking up the summer sun while watching the guys practice in the afternoons before night games.
Chicago is a wonderful city, and the Cubbies have their own fantastic traditions and folklore. But as friendly and iconic as the ivy may be at Wrigley, it will never be like home.
(For a less-fuzzy look at the ad, click here: http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/assets_c/2011/10/609Theo_thank_you-thumb-609x1100-53948.jpg )