As a New York Yankees fan who grew up in the 2000s, my favorite player has always been Derek Jeter. Slandering the captain is a common way for people to get a rise out of Yankee fans. And, like Charlie Brown attempting to kick a football, I fall for the bait every single time.
Instead of arguing with an anonymous profile about Jeter’s defensive metrics, I’m going to tell a story instead. Since the story also involves the artist with the greatest Christmas song in history, I enjoy telling it this time of year.
What you probably know
It’s very well documented that Jeter dated Mariah Carey in the late ’90s. She became the first of a long list of celebrities the former Yankee shortstop would end up dating.
Everybody knows that, so what?
The shortstop of a Yankee team in the midst of one of the greatest dynasties ever dating a pop star is nothing out of the ordinary. Heck, even Tyler Wade is dating a pop star right now.
"Yeah so I accidentally ran on contact even though there was nobody out, so the guy made the catch and then threw to second for the double play" pic.twitter.com/shLG5JhIo8
However, what you might not know is the context of how long Jeter wanted to pursue Carey.
Jeter was always a guy who had a vision of what he wanted in life. He was voted “Most Likely to Play Shortstop for the Yankees” by his classmates in high school because of how often he talked about it. Jeter’s teammate in the minor leagues, R.D. Long, visited Jeter in Kalamazoo after the 1993 season. Here’s what Long said about the visit:
Long couldn’t believe his pal’s bedroom: wall-to-wall Mariah Carey posters, “like a little kid.” As far back as high school, Jeter would tell people that one day he would marry the pop diva. By 1996, he would be dating her.
Growing up with a pop star’s posters on your wall, only to fulfill your dream of becoming the Yankees shortstop and ultimately date her remains the biggest power move of all-time. Forget the 3,000 hits, 14 All-Star appearances, and five rings. Dating the girl you had posters of growing up is indescribably cool.
Will this change any Yankee hater’s opinion that Jeter’s defensive runs saved should have kept him out of the Hall of Fame? No chance. Nevertheless, it confirms the fact that Jeter was the man both on and off the field. Now, for the obligatory link to the best Christmas song in recorded history.