By Tony Mangia
The Yankees claim they have not upped their offer for Derek Jeter. Sources say Jeter's agent has lowered his demands and another report said that the two sides have not spoken in over a week. Its finally come down to this and it may be too late to save the popular Yankee's image. Even WikiLeaks is having a hard time deciphering this mess.
The chinks in Jeter's armor began to show this summer. A weak performance at the plate, the bad acting after the "phantom beaning" in Tampa and culminating with the howls of disapproval after the shortstop won a Gold Glove. A disappointing post-season and now a very public contract dispute have led to the prince of the city sporting a tarnished crown.
The day of reckoning has come. Jeter must face up to the fact he no longer has the legs of a young colt or the power of a buck. The flashes of brilliance are more apt to be flashes of the paparazzi these days. Jeter has changed in the last fifteen years. The city is not the same one I knew either.
Everything changes. New York City has transformed since the young shortstop with a fade haircut rolled in from Kalamazoo. While Jeter and the iconic Core Four were piling up victories and championship parades and the city picked up the pieces from 9/11, Manhattan evolved into some kind of adult amusement park.
If Jeter ends up in a San Francisco Giants uniform or even a (no way) Red Sox flannel, New York will survive. Maybe the following list of peeves which annoy New Yorkers could help make Jeter's possible relocation to a faraway place easier.
Jeter already has his Trump penthouse up for sale. He is off the dating market, but was told by GM Brian Cashman to test the open waters of baseball, so maybe something is up. As a lifelong New Yorker, I serve up these irritants to living in New York City nowadays.
First thing wrong with New York City right now, the Kardashians, have roosted here. The publicity hounds have made inroads into select places I never venture, but its the thought of them foraging here and filling the tabloids with their photos that makes me wish for more Jersey Shore.
A few years ago, while Jeter was the most sought after bachelor in New York, the starlet-magnet would have probably been hitting on Kim or vice-versa. Jeter has been in a long-term relationship with Minka Kelly (still don't who she is or what she's done) and there have rumor of upcoming nuptials, so we won't go there with Kardashian. Anyway, the last time Kim, with an ass which could be a Macy's Parade balloon by itself, was spotted she was at ribbon-cutting ceremony for public toilets in Times Square. Isn't there anything this chick won't do to get some pub?
Speaking of the Kardashians, Bed Bugs have overrun the city. The little critters have infested Abercrombie and Fitch, the Waldorf and other high-class stores and hotels. Roscoe the bug-sniffing dog has been very busy and sleepovers are not the rage.
Speaking of pests, stepping from the brown J-M-Z lines comes the Hipster---the fedora-topped, hip-hugging jean wearing, messenger-bag toting 'artist' mass-produced by the clone factory of Williamsburg. When not handing out coffee at a Starbucks, these creatures can usually be spotted at some "dive" bar nursing a two-hour micro-brew and talking about their band. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Let's not forget the Tourists. Who says the Euro was in trouble and if I hear "Vair is zee toilette?" one more time, I'm calling the INS. It's called a bathroom! And stop walking arm-and-arm-and arm down the sidewalk and clogging it up for working New Yorkers. It's not NYC in 1984! No one is going to snatch you from your flock!
In 1996, only Wall Street blow-hards showed off their cell phones, now Texters act like a public walkway is their living room. God forbid you bump into some one yakking on their phone while holding their cup of latte and walking their dog---simultaneously. Oh yeah you won't have to divert your eyes while you chat with Dog-walking friends, while they hold a baggie of dog poop like a Chinese fan .
If Jeter and Minka have children in New York, they will most likely grow up to be DJ's or Designers. All rich kids in the city end up posing as one of those. It's a phenomenon I still can't figure out. Who buys those clothes any way?
I could rag on with all the other things that have changed for the worst since Derek Jeter graced the diamond at both the old and the new Yankee Stadiums. There are Food Trucks, which stink up whole blocks (I'll take a $5 cupcake!), Pedicabs which charge $50 for a $8 cab ride, Pedestrian Courts on major avenues and Little Italy is well...littler. There are no Wal-Marts and too many Yankees games can only be seen on ESPN. Thank goodness Joe and Jon won't be lulling me to sleep anymore.
Some changes are heartfelt. George Steinbrenner is gone. So is Bob Sheppard. The World Trade Center is still a big hole in the ground, but Yogi has returned from his self-banishment. Some good news there.
If the Yankees give Derek Jeter the bum's rush like they did to his fellow teammate and pal Bernie Williams, the player's highlights will still remain. Good memories. While the Mets, Knicks, Jets and Rangers produced nothing in fifteen years, Jeter has five championship rings, "the dive" and "the flip"to remind us how important he was to the Yankees and the city when it was wounded.
This is a New York City which is ready to hire a school chancellor with a publishing background, never spent one day in a public school and sends her kids to a private school in Connecticut to oversee over a million city school kids.
If New York can do that, I think the Yankees could find room for a 36-year-old shortstop coming off a down year with the desire and a quest for 3,000 hits in a New York Yankee uniform. If neither side budges on the negotiations, Jeter could be in the wind. That might be one change New Yorkers will really hate.