Yankees: “Whoring It Up”

Updated: September 19, 2014
Photo by Tomas Fano

Alright, “whore” is a pretty rough word and using it as a verb is rougher yet. But to watch the Yankees handle the wind-up to Derek Jeter’s career, I can’t help but get this cheap, cheesy feeling.

Now to be clear, this is the Yankees creating this feeling, not Derek Jeter. By all indications these are marketing rights that the Yankees retain in player contracts with marketable stars like Jeter and A-Rod. We pay you gobs of money and we can parade you around like a circus elephant if we want.

But why the Yankees would want to do that in such a cheap and transparent way is beyond comprehension. I guess that’s the baseball fan in me…the pragmatist knows it’s about the money.

Photo by Keith Allison

Why the upset? For one, Derek Jeter Day at the Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 7. Coincidentally also opening Sunday for the NFL season. A day on which the Yankees would otherwise be irrelevant in this lost season. Why have Derek’s day a month before the end of the season, and why diminish it by competing with a big sports day? Ratings. A month’s worth of Jeter Fever. Cashola.

Who ever heard of putting a patch on the uniform in tribute to a player who was still alive? And playing? Of course the plan being to sell those game-used special edition uniforms from the last month as memorabilia.

They’re also selling rakes…the very rakes used to groom the blessed soil patrolled by The Captain. And bases trod on by The Captain, emblazoned with the commemorative logo.

And who’s behind the brilliant notion of conjuring up memorabilia out of junk? Steiner Sports, the guys who’ll sell you dirt…the dirt from the hallowed grounds of the Babe, the Iron Horse, DiMag and the Mick (even if it’s not the same ballpark).

These guys will sell anything not nailed down. Oh, they sell stadium seats? OK, nailed down too.

And who gives them that right? The Yankees. The YES Network Yanks, the Cash Machine Yanks. Of course they’re not alone in whoring up the history and the brand of their franchise, they’re just the best and most brazen.

Look at what’s going on with Roger Goodell’s NFL. They turn a willfully blind eye to issues where they’re clearly in the wrong until the situation blows up and the potential economic fallout is too great to ignore. The concussion issue went that route and now the range of domestic violence and other police matters is following the same pattern. They purport to be a family- and community-friendly league but we know that just good marketing.

Domestic violence has been a big issue with NFL players for years, and now a relatively few bad actors have become the image of the NFL…but we still don’t have a functional policy of what to do with these situations as they arise. If it was about the “right thing to do” the solution would be easy…get ‘em off the field as soon as they’re charged. But the NFL braintrust has gone to the mattresses to figure out how to have it both ways.

By spawn.com

Same thing for the NBA. Donald Sterling committed more overt and harmful sins of racial discrimination prior to this spring but it wasn’t until the V. Stiviano audiotapes caused the potential for big economic fallout in the league that Sterling became radioactive. Good crisis handling by Adam Silver. Bad ethical standards by David Stern and the NBA owners regarding past history.

We all realize by now that pro sports is not about the sport. There are very few “sportsmen” (as they used to be known) among pro franchise owners any longer. We fans want to enjoy the sports, maybe even look up to a superstar player. But it’s hard to maintain that illusion of sport for sport’s sake when these examples are thrust at us on a daily basis.

It may not be fair to single out the Yanks for “whoring it up”. Everyone does it. But they’ve shown the sporting world new and creative ways to do it. And the unfortunate manner in which they’re using the final act of one of their immortals is hard to watch.

I guess let’s just be thankful Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech occurred free of Steiner Sports…we can enjoy it being played all the time on YES Network.

One Comment

  1. Mets Fan

    September 19, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    But “we” buy it…..

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