So about that Derek Jeter commercial …
First, on the off-off-chance you haven’t seen this already, it’s worth seeing. Worth seeing more than once, unless you’re just utterly sick to death of The Captain’s Farewell or you just despise the Yankees …
You probably know that I’m no big fan of either The Captain or His Yankees. Just doesn’t square with my upbringing.
But this one got to me.
Yes, it’s pure hokum. Yes, it does seem a little strange that — according to the story we’re told here, anyway — that it took Derek Jeter 20 years to actually get out of the big black automobile and see a little bit of the Bronx.
But see, here’s where this commercial gets me … Jeter’s obviously playing a role, for which he’s of course been paid handsomely. His sincerity, as he interacts with the people on the streets and at the ballpark, is unfathomable. That’s not what gets me. What gets me is the sincerity of his fans, who seem genuinely thrilled and touched in these surprising moments.
Recently, I had occasion to speak with Dale Murphy. But I didn’t. It didn’t feel right to behave as a fan, and the writer in me didn’t want to interrupt Murphy’s evening out.
These fans in the Bronx, though, were invited to touch their hero. Their happiness seems utterly sincere, and they’ll carry these moments with them for as long as they live. Sure, it’s all in the service of selling a sugary beverage. The trade-off might not be worth it. But for this one minute and thirty seconds, it’s okay to feel a kinship with people who love baseball and its heroes just like we do.