When a conflict comes to a resolution, we’re normally able to take a step back and reflect on it. With the Derek Jeter contract negotiations, that’s not necessary. The situation was pretty transparent from the beginning. The Yankees set the tone with their initial offer, one that no other team would dare match. From there it was just a matter of when Jeter would accept the situation. But while we won’t learn much by looking back at the situation, we did get something out of it. We were entertained.
The way the negotiations played out was insanely entertaining. Six years and $150 million? That was worth a good chuckle. It might have been true, but chances are it wasn’t. Even four to five years at $23 or $24 million was comical. Then came the quotes from the Yankees brass. Sure, it was mostly unnecessary — especially when it involved Hank. But the frustration was palpable. The Jeter camp was being unreasonable, and it appeared to have gotten under the Yankees’ skin.
More than the negotiations themselves, the commentary about the negotiations provided high entertainment. Whether on Twitter, in an article, or in the comments section, we saw people provide all kinds of rationale for why Jeter deserved to get paid what he wanted, or why he should take the Yankees’ offer. (Though the term rationale might be generous when describing the former.) It also led to a short-lived, but still entertaining, collection of terrible articles about the situation.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I had fun during those few weeks. Maybe I got a little worked up at one point or another, but that’s going to happen when arguing something about which I’m passionate. I can see why people might have been annoyed at how it played out. Seeing multiple articles every day about one player’s contract negotiations can become grating. But even if it did become a bit too much on one day, it all reset the next day. The conversations began anew, and we were entertained all over again.
It might not have been all that entertaining, of course, had there been a chance that Jeter would leave. We all knew that no matter how this played out that Jeter would play shortstop for the Yankees in 2011 and beyond. Because we knew this we could view the negotiations in a different manner than we see them with, say, Cliff Lee. There’s a real chance Lee signs elsewhere and helps a Yankees rival. With Jeter it was the furthest thing from our minds — or at least most of our minds.
I’m glad it’s over. The entertainment factor in this was definitely coming to a halt, so drawing it out any longer would have become obnoxious. But it was fun while it lasted. I don’t wish that all negotiations played out in this way, but with Derek Jeter it worked. Now that it’s over we can forget the annoyances and remember the conversations and debates. That’s what made this whole situation interesting and entertaining.