Commentary

The definitive Derek Jeter movie

Originally Published: September 9, 2009
By Jim Caple | Page 2

Kurt Snibbe

Editor's note: With four more hits, Derek Jeter will pass Lou Gehrig for the most career hits by a New York Yankee.

Coming soon to a multiplex near you!

"THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES 2"

SCENE 1

[Interior of a New York hospital's intensive care unit. ALEX RODRIGUEZ and DEREK JETER are visiting a very sick 11-year-old patient named BILLY, whose parents stand nearby.]

A-ROD: I'll tell you what, Billy. If I personally hit a home run for you tonight to lead the boys to victory, will you do me a favor in return and get better?

Off Base

BILLY: Golly, yes, Mr. Rodriguez!

A-ROD: [Extending his hand to shake.] Then it's a deal, partner. I hit a home run, and you get out of this hospital. I'll just get my agent to send your parents the proper forms to sign. Now, let me give you my autograph.

BILLY: Gee whiz, Mr.Rodriguez. Thanks!

[BILLY's father hands A-ROD a baseball bat.]

A-ROD: Sorry, no bats or balls. Only flat items.

[BILLY's father searches for a flat item A-ROD can sign and eventually hands the Yankees third baseman his parking garage ticket. A-ROD quickly scribbles his name on the ticket and exits. JETER walks over to the bed, picks up the bat and starts writing a thoughtful "get well soon" message in iambic pentameter on the barrel.]

BILLY: Mr. Jeter, could you please hit a home run for me?

JETER: Aren't you being a little greedy, Billy? Alex just said he'd hit one for you.

BILLY: That #$@%^& choker? Please. If I need someone to pop up for me in the clutch, I'll go to him. But when I want a home run, I go right to The Man.

[JETER nods and smiles. He gives BILLY a hug and turns to the boy's doctor. He writes down something on a slip of paper.]

JETER: You might want to try him on this new drug. I read a report on it in The New England Journal of Medicine, and they've had some very promising results in patients with Billy's condition. Also, be sure to send Billy's entire hospital bill to me.

[JETER exits, getting the nurse's phone number on his way out.]


SCENE 2

[Yankee Stadium later that day. The Yankees are up to bat. JETER grabs a bat from the rack and steps out toward the on-deck circle. He suddenly trips and falls flat on his face. A GORGEOUS WOMAN, sitting by herself in an empty section of $1,250 box seats, laughs.]

GORGEOUS WOMAN: Tanglefoot!

[JETER looks up at the woman and smiles. He walks over and introduces himself.]

JETER: Hi, I'm Derek Jeter.

GORGEOUS WOMAN: I'm Miss Sweden.

JETER: What are you doing tomorrow night?

MISS SWEDEN: I'm afraid I'm busy. How about tonight?

[+] EnlargeDerek Jeter
AP Photo/Jeff ChristensenMaybe the cologne helped attract Miss Sweden?

JETER: No, I'm meeting my mother. It's our weekly milkshakes night. Are you sure tomorrow night won't work?

MISS SWEDEN: Tomorrow night is the Miss Universe pageant, and I'm a finalist. But I guess that's OK -- I can blow it off.

JETER: Great. I'll pick you up on my way back from my examination.

MISS SWEDEN: Your examination? What, are you sick?

JETER: I'd rather not discuss it, but I sure hope not. I've just felt a little clumsy lately, and I want to make sure I'm ready for the postseason.

MISS SWEDEN: Feeling clumsy? Is that why you tripped just now?

JETER: No, I tripped over this.

[JETER reaches back and picks up an enormous black leather-bound volume, the size and shape of a 14th-century Bible hand-copied and illustrated by Cistercian monks.]

JETER: It's my little black book.

MISS SWEDEN: Boy, you could have really hurt yourself tripping over that.

JETER: Yes. I'm lucky it was only the A-L section.


SCENE 3

[BILLY is in his hospital bed, watching the Yankees' game versus the Orioles on TV, with broadcaster MICHAEL KAY and former Yankee PAUL O'NEILL manning the microphones.]

KAY: Here's the windup and the pitch to Jeter … swung on and belted deep to right … going back, Nick Markakis is at the track, at the wall, SEEEE YAA!!! Another home run for Derek Jeter, his third of the night, and each has given the Yankees the lead. And that home run puts him past Lou Gehrig as the all-time Yankees hit king!

O'NEILL: And what about his catch diving into the stands in the fifth inning? I mean, he went flying into those seats by the dugout without any regard for his personal safety. He was flying so fast, all he was missing was a red cape.

KAY: Someone could have been hurt if the Yankees had actually been able to sell those seats.

[BILLY sits up, cheers, gets out of his bed and dances around the room. It's a miracle! He is cured! He quickly grabs his iPhone, logs on and puts his autographed JETER bat up for auction on eBay.]

KAY: More hits than Lou Gehrig. Wow, isn't that something, Paulie?

O'NEILL: It sure is. And you know what? Derek is so great, I bet he'll have a disease named after him, too.

KAY: Well, that brings up Alex Rodriguez, who is 0-for-4 tonight with three strikeouts and an inning-ending double play. A-Rod also has made two errors …


SCENE 4

[Interior of an examination room. A worried JETER looks toward an equally concerned DOCTOR.]

JETER: Give it to me straight. Is it three strikes, Doc?

DOCTOR: I'm afraid so.

[The camera pulls back to show that the DOCTOR is actually a dentist and JETER is sitting in a dental chair.]

DOCTOR: You have a tiny cavity in a back molar. That's the first cavity you've ever had, isn't it?

JETER: Yeah, Doc. And I think it was causing my clumsiness. It was painful to chew, so I hadn't been eating as much lately, and that probably made me light-headed.

DOCTOR: So, would you like novocaine or sleeping gas?

JETER: Neither. I don't want any chemicals in my body. I'll just endure the pain. As Nietzsche said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger.''

DOCTOR: I wish all my patients were like you, Derek. I mean, I don't think A-Rod even knows what dental floss is.


SCENE 5

[Interior of JETER's bedroom. The walls are lined from floor to ceiling with books, and they all have been read. The room also is filled with photos of JETER's mother. JETER and MISS SWEDEN are in bed after a passionate session of canoodling. MISS SWEDEN is smoking a cigarette while JETER is chewing organic sunflower seeds.]

JETER: How was it?

MISS SWEDEN: Tonight … I consider myself … the luckiest woman on the face of the earth.

THE END


BOX SCORE LINE OF THE WEEK

[+] Enlarge Aaron Boone
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastMany people were happy to see Aaron Boone back on the field.

Question: When Boston fans see lines like these from Brad Penny of the Giants last week -- 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K -- or see John Smoltz with two victories in three starts since joining the Cardinals, do they think, "Why did we give up on these guys so quickly?'' Or do they think, "Man, all we have to do is get to the World Series, and we'll sweep, because the National League must really suck!''

Meanwhile, this week's award goes to this line:

3 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI

Pretty unimpressive, you say? A line you could find several times over in a typical Padres, Giants or Royals box score? Perhaps. But what made that line significant was the welcome name that came before it:

Boone, 1b

Five months after undergoing open-heart surgery, Aaron Boone returned to major league baseball last week. "I thought he was done permanently, not just this year,'' Lance Berkman told the Houston Chronicle. "It's a testament to him wanting to come back. It's great that he's going to get an opportunity to play. And everybody across baseball is happy to see him out there."

TELL YOUR STATISTICS TO SHUT UP

• The new type of batting helmet might provide more protection, but the players aren't crazy about it. A walk through the clubhouses before a recent Mariners-Angels game found many complaining about the way the helmet feels as well as the way it looks. "Personally," Seattle's Bill Hall said, "I don't like it, but I guess getting hit in the head might change my mind a little bit." Ken Griffey Jr. said he flat-out wouldn't wear it. Torii Hunter, however, said he would not have a problem if baseball required the helmet to be worn. "It's supposed to withstand [pitches] up to 100 miles per hour, so it's pretty safe. It's no big deal. If we have to wear them, I'll wear them. It won't change the game. But I'll look like I have an alien head. I'll look like the Great Gazoo. That's how I'll look. But it's not how you look, it's how safe you are." The helmets might look different, but they definitely would be your first choice if you were ordering a helmet sundae.

[+] EnlargeKen Griffey Jr.
AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonEnjoy Junior while you can. This could be his last few weeks of pro ball.

• Due to a sore knee, facing several left-handed starters and a .218 batting average, Griffey has started only 24 of the Mariners' 51 games since the All-Star break. August was his most productive month (.246, 4 HR, 13 RBI), but the question this September is: Are we watching the final weeks of his superb career? He's been noncommittal, saying recently, "I'll figure it out when I get there. … We still have work to do here. When I get to that point, I'll get to it. I'll decide when I decide." Clubhouse atmosphere usually is very overrated, but Griffey has been a tremendous influence with teammates this season, even if his production has been disappointing. Hopefully Junior will let fans know before the season ends so they can give him an appropriate sendoff, but they probably ought to assume this is it, just in case.

• The Baseball World Cup, not to be confused with the World Baseball Classic, begins this week in Prague; Barcelona, Spain; Stockholm; Regensburg, Germany; and Zagreb, Croatia. There are 22 countries in the three-week tournament, including Croatia (appearing for the first time) and Great Britain (appearing for the first time since 1938). More than 100 players with major league organizations are in the tournament, including three from the Czech Republic, two from Germany, one from Great Britain, one from Sweden, five from South Africa and six from Spain. Be honest: Which would you rather see, the Croatian national team or the Pittsburgh Pirates?

• The Pink Pony, which was as much a part of old spring training as Toots Shor's was a part of old New York baseball, closed its doors recently after 60 years. The Pony once was the Cactus League's unofficial headquarters -- Roger Angell described it as the "best baseball restaurant in the land." But spring training has changed dramatically, and in an age of P.F. Chang's, the Pony was like an aging veteran trying to hang on when he can no longer get around on a fastball. The owner, Gwen Briley, told The Arizona Republic she hopes someone will buy the restaurant and operate it as the Pink Pony. If not, well, Scottsdale still has the Olive Garden.

• And finally, some very sad news: Ernie Harwell has revealed he has inoperable cancer. One of the finest broadcasters in the game's history, Harwell also is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Here's wishing him the best.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Jim Caple | email

ESPN Senior Writer
Author of "The Devil Wears Pinstripes" and winner of a Sports Emmy. Reported from 17 World Series, 9 Olympics, 6 continents.

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