When I went to the Yankees game on Sunday I found myself drawn to the "Jeter Kiosks". Of course normally Yankee Stadium is overrun with vendors peddling all manner of overpriced merchandise, but I couldn't help but be amused at the concept of having a whole stand devoted to one man. It was almost a shrine of sorts. And they were everywhere: you would have an infinitely harder time finding a bathroom than you would a place to buy a commemorative patch. It felt more like someone had built a Derek Jeter amusement park than a stadium that housed a whole baseball franchise.
From the comfort of your own home it hasn't been much different. For about two weeks Yankees broadcasts have felt like a paean for one man. Sure, the team was on the cusp of elimination for most of that time, but even when Jeter wasn't scheduled to bat any time soon The YES Network was a constant stream of Jeter moments, Jeter highlights and Jeter updates. Every person they could unearth being asked about Jeter. I'm surprised I don't know what the doctors that delivered Jeter think of his career at this point.
In many ways Jeter's farewell has been everything I feared it would be. I had held out hope that he would have a respectable season, and around the hundred game mark it looked like he was going to have one. Not as remarkable as some seasons past, but good enough that most of the people who wanted to tear Jeter apart like a limping gazelle would have been held at bay. That would have toned down the craziness at least a little bit. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case, so the "Anti-Jeter" business has been just as booming as the "Pro-Jeter" factory running in The Bronx. An article or the rantings of a "talking head" tearing down Jeter is going to get just as much attention as those that speak of him as a golden god. You've been able to find either just about anywhere you turn, and very frequently they aren't particularly insightful or based in much reality.
Whether it's been positive attention, negative critiques or just a constant barrage of commercials, I think the point of saturation has long since been reached. I don't know if we'll ever see the likes of this retirement tour again, but I certainly wouldn't look forward to it and I pray it doesn't happen with a team I love. What I do know about my own personal fatigue is how little of it has anything to do with Derek Jeter at all. His cult of personality has just been turned up so far past eleven that it obscures the man any time I see or hear him mentioned. His retirement would get mentioned on The Food Network if they thought there was a dime in it.
Eventually when all the dust settles and Jeter has long since hung up his cleats I think I'll be able to fully appreciate his career as a fan. Perhaps just reflecting on the memories of his greatest moments or maybe pulling out a DVD of a classic World Series game. Possibly looking up some highlights months after they've been forced down my throat. Last night's heroics will definitely be worth a couple of more viewings over the offseason.It will nice to enjoy Derek Jeter the player, not the marketing concept.