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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Farewell tour does not a tournament make.

Two farewell tours.  Two tournaments missed.  A lesson to be learned?  Probably not by the Steinbrenner Kids who inherited the New York Yankees from their late father George.  They may be saved from their unimaginative selves.  The only remaining Yankee of any note who has spent his entire career with the team is Brett Gardner, not a likely candidate but if the Yanks are in real trouble before they can invent distractions using former player they may prevail upon Gardner to announce his retirement, form a charitable foundation and go on farewell tour even if it means years of meaningless sappy tribute.  For that Gardner would have to be a real team player.
Brett Gardner in Baltimore
April 24, 2011
by Keith Allison
via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe the Yankees were being punished.  Even with a second wild card in the tournament the Yankees failed to qualify for the tournament both seasons that they inflicted the two absurd farewell tours on the baseball world.  It probably serves them and their fans right.

Kill the farewell tour, a combination one man old timers day and shotgun wedding.  Monday, February 17, 2014

... the 2013 farewell tour of Mariano Rivera.  As Rivera visited other ball parks the home team chose or felt compelled to honor Rivera as previous teams had done.  By the mid way point I was really uncomfortable with this.  Teams were striving to find increasingly more imaginative ways of paying tribute to the greatest 60 inning a year pitcher in baseball history.  I do not know of anything similar to this.  Not for Mickey Mantle.  Not for Joe DiMaggio.  Not even for the symbol of baseball tragedy, Lou Gehrig.  The Yankees held a day of tribute July 4, 1939 for their sick captain at Yankee Stadium, bringing back Gehrig's 1927 teammates; Gehrig made his famous speech that day.

When Babe Ruth was nearing death the Yankees initiated what evolved into an annual old timers day.  The Babe died in 1948.  Other teams tried them, too, but I think that the Yankees are the only team that still holds an annual event.

No doubt when he is retired Derek Jeter will be invited to the Yankee old timers day.  That's enough for me.  Another farewell tour similar to Mariano's would be absurd in the extreme...

The Yankees will probably have a day of tribute for Jeter later this season.  OK, I guess.  I'd prefer that this be done after the player has actually retired...

Kill the tour.  One was one too many.
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Why didn't Chipper Jones get a farewell tour?  Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chipper Jones retired one year before the back to back farewell tours for Yankees Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.  Maybe no one thought about it.  Maybe Jones didn't want it.  Maybe he got a mini version that we don't even recall.

I'm a Yankee fan but half way through Rivera's 2013 farewell tour I thought it was way overblown and inappropriate.  Fraternization on the field between opposing players is prohibited but commissioner Selig neglected to suspend anyone 211 games.

I had hoped that this would not be repeated but Jeter announced his retirement before the 2014 regular season and allowed the Yankees and opposing teams to exceed the silliness of what was done for Rivera.  I'm guessing that some players are resentful, including teammates, but so far none have had the nerve to speak up.
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Derek Jeter, George C. Marshall, Chipper Jones.  Monday, October 13, 2014

George C. Marshall declined to write a memoir because he did not want to profit from his public service...

Jeter succumbed to celebrity attention that exceeded even what he had experienced as a key member of five championship teams.  This culminated with personal Derek Jeter flags replacing the 30 team flags atop Yankee Stadium and personal Derek Jeter patches on the caps and home shirts of all Yankee players.  This screamed of self over team but Jeter by then was deaf to all but the applause.

Over 20 years the Yankees paid Derek Jeter $265 million dollars for the regular season.  Despite that Jeter has been doing everything possible to make even more money by capitalizing on his retirement.
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