Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Met Derek Jeter

In light of Derek Jeter's recent announcement of his intention to retire at the close of the 2014 season, we decided to bring you two special edition blog posts. Today's blog post, written by myself, and next week's, written by Lisa. I suggested that to Lisa that her blog post be entitled, "I Knew I Loved Derek Jeter When He Started Losing His Hair," but she didn't go for it. Sorry, guys. I tried. I felt that you would've really enjoyed that discussion.

I thought that I would share with you the story about the day I met Derek Jeter. Or otherwise known as "the heart-warming story about a girl in her pre-flatiron era fro on her quest to meet Bernie Williams."

You may have recalled that fun fact from this blog post last year. I think I was about 12 years old when Mamadukes won an auction that allowed me to be the honorary bat girl for a day for the Yankees. All I wanted was to get my picture taken with Bernie Williams. That is all. Before I continue with this story, I have to emphasize the fact that the Derek Jeter I met was not the Derek Jeter that sh*ts bricks of gold according the the media. He was just a newbie.

I didn't have my very own Yankees jersey until high school, so Mamadukes loaned me her Don Mattingly one. I spent batting practice sitting in the dugout with a Yankees' Suit and a photographer. I specifically stated that I wanted a picture with Bernie Williams. Multiple times. I was introduced to Joe Torre, Mariano Duncan, and Tino Martinez. I was appreciative of all of these moments, but continued asking for Bernie Williams (after the Yankee of the moment had already departed, of course).

Jeter had just taken the field to take a few warm up throws when the Suit asked, "Hey! Do you want to meet Derek Jeter?" I didn't even know who "Derek Jeter" was. Clearly, this man was either hard of hearing or a total d*ck.
"I guess." I looked to the outfield where I could see Bernie Williams shagging fly balls.
The Suit was seemed totally thrilled because he hopped off the bench, bounded up the steps, and trotted over to Jeter. "Derek? Do you mind taking a photo with one of our biggest fans?"
Jeter looked at me and smiled. "Sure."
The Suit eagerly waved me over as the photographer jumped to action. They positioned me next to Jeter and Jeter placed his hand on my back. I tried to smile. To the best of my ability. PS - I also had braces.

The photographer snapped several photos. "It looks like you'll need to get yourself a Jeter jersey now!" he declared cheerfully from behind his camera.
Jeter patted me lightly on the back. "No. She's got a good one on."
"Exactly," I blurted out. Which was super sweet of me.
He chuckled. The Suit and photographer chuckled as well, but I think theirs was more awkward and forced.

When we returned to the dugout, I checked the outfield again. Bernie Williams was gone! In the time we had wasted with the new Yankee, I'd missed the only man I wanted my picture taken with! I felt my stomach turn.

I turned to The Suit and said, "we missed Bernie."
He frowned. "So we did."
My heart sunk. I felt my shoulders sag.
"Why don't we see if we can grab him before he makes it to the clubhouse?" he suggested.
The photographer was now focused on photographing the action around the batting cages, so it was just me, clutching my little cheap camera, and The Suit hurrying through the halls to in an effort to reach the clubhouse in time.

At the double doors, The Suit turned to me and said, "wait here." He opened the door and disappeared. As the door slowly swung closed, I could hear him shout, "Bernie?"

It felt like I waited for hours. I thought that I'd been forgotten. Then the door swung open and The Suit emerged with Bernie. My face hurt from the smile that erupted on it.
"Nice to meet you," he said, shaking my hand. To me. He spoke to me.
I grinned. All I could do was grin.
"I know you don't have a lot of time here, but do you mind taking a photo with her, Bernie?" The Suit asked. "That's all she's been asking for."
"Of course, of course!" he said. He spotted my camera and took it. He put his arm around my shoulders and flipped the camera around to face us. He pressed the button to take a selfie of us before "selfies" even existed. I think my smile was so big that my eyes had squinted shut, but it didn't matter because the camera never went off. He frowned and examined the camera before trying again. Nothing. He fiddled with it some more. Nothing.
He frowned and handed the camera back to me with an apologetic frown. "I'm very sorry. It's not working."
What I would've given for a smart phone back then.

I've been asked by people who I told this story to, "why couldn't you just be a little nicer to Jeter?" I'm pretty simple and I'm pretty relaxed about most things, but I also want what I want and that's that. Once I decide that I want something, nothing is going to deter me from that task. I didn't want Jeter. I wanted Bernie.

Since that season, not a year has gone by when Mamadukes has suggested, "I don't know why you can't just marry Derek Jeter? What's your problem?" Because Derek Jeter has asked me on a date and I blew him off. Or something. Now he's retiring. I've single-handedly blew Mamadukes' chance at field level season tickets. I'm a life ruiner.

But Jeter would always be Mamadukes' favorite potential future son-in-law and to prove her love,
for my 16th birthday, she blew up what must be one of the Top 5 Most Heinous Photographs of me in existence, had Derek Jeter autograph it, and then framed it. Exhibit said photo below:
I mean...she didn't have to blow it up. Really. It was unnecessary. I think it's safe to say that when he saw this photo in its massive size, he didn't feel like he made a poor decision allowing me to walk away without getting my digits.


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