"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Big Sexy

Seth Mnookin profiles Derek Jeter in this month’s GQ:

By all accounts, when Jeter has felt at risk of being exposed, he’s taken swift steps. About ten years ago, a freelancer working on a piece for The New York Times was in the Yankees locker room after batting practice. Jeter and some other players were joking around—”it was something totally innocuous,” the reporter says—when Jeter realized there was a tape recorder in the room. Later that night, the reporter was buttonholed by a Yankees PR staffer and one of the team’s security guards. When the reporter tried to apologize to Jeter for any misunderstanding, he says, Jeter refused to acknowledge that anything had happened in the first place.

Even those people whose job it is to dig up dirt on celebrities can only shake their heads in amazement. “Derek Jeter could be a guru,” says Richard Johnson, the Los Angeles bureau chief of The Daily and legendary former editor of the New York Post’s gossip column, Page Six. “There’s never been any kiss-and-tell stuff where a girl breaks up with Jeter and then says what a creep he is. I don’t know how he avoids it. He must have some sort of vetting process—maybe he makes them fill out a questionnaire or has a psychological profile done. He’s incredible.”

…Over the course of two days, I spent more than four hours talking to Jeter. I haven’t spent a lot of time talking to boldfaced names, but he was without question one of the nicest, most genuine celebrities I’ve interviewed. Perhaps that was because he no longer feels awkward providing answers that inevitably disappoint reporters looking for scooplets about the “real” Derek Jeter—and because I had no illusions about being the first person to succeed in getting Jeter to open up about his hopes and dreams. There were several times when I asked Jeter a question—about playing in the steroid era, or about players who preferred playing out of the spotlight of New York—and he’d slow down and grow more cautious. Eventually I realized he was worried I’d take what he was saying and make it sound like he was talking about a specific person or situation. When I called him on it, he readily acknowledged that had been exactly what he’d been thinking: “A lot of times, when you say things, people will try to turn it into [something else]. Sometimes someone asks you a question, and if you don’t comment or dispute what they say, they’ll take it as though you agree. I’ve always been very aware of what I’m saying, but I’m also aware of what you’re saying. I always want to make sure that my point is clear.”


[Photo Credit: Day Life]

Categories:  Baseball Musings  Bronx Banter  Yankees

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1 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 15, 2011 10:01 am

Crystal, baby, crystal. He's done such a stellar job protecting his brand. It takes conscientiousness and non-disclosure agreements.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 15, 2011 10:20 am

He's slicker n slick while being polite and friendly.

3 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 15, 2011 10:39 am

He certainly has figured out how to be a public persona. Not easy. Of course you can never let your guard down. Better him than me although I wouldn't mind some of his ducats.

4 Raf   ~  Mar 15, 2011 11:07 am

[3] Yes, it isn't easy at all. I'd probably have a meltdown of Martin Lawrence or Charlie Sheen proportions

5 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 15, 2011 11:21 am

A writer spent 4 hours with Jeter's and this is all he came away with? I know Jeter's guarded, but there's no more depth to this "profile" than you'd get from a daily column. it reads to me like Jeter's didnt answer the 5 or so questions on the reporter's assignment sheet, and then they went for coffee.
100% foam on the page.

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 15, 2011 11:22 am

5) see how many touchpad mistakes are in this post.

7 The Mick536   ~  Mar 15, 2011 11:45 am

[3] I have.

[5] Again, you have spoken for me, though I never would have thought to use the word foam, but it fits. Jay Maisel says that a photographer should only shoot air that can be seen. Jeter's interview which seems to appear on the page, disappears when an attempt is made to discover some substance. So, while he avoids an Old-ARod-moment, there ain't nothing there.

8 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 15, 2011 1:59 pm

Mnookin is a very talented writer, which is probably why this is 4 pages of highly enjoyable and completely empty fluff. Its not until the second half of the third page that he even mentions "oh yeah, I actually did interview Jeter for this piece..."

Not much "there" there.

9 Dimelo   ~  Mar 15, 2011 2:17 pm

I don't think there should be something -- a smoking gun that really shows Jeter as some nut. Maybe other than banging super models there isn't much more to his life.

I never understood why we assume there's a big conspiracy Jeter is hiding somewhere. The guy is extremely well balanced, I can appreciate that when all we can read about are people that are not balanced at all.

I don't think he's vanilla or boring, I just find him extremely well thought out.

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 15, 2011 3:05 pm

9] i'm not suggesting there should be something to a Jeter profile other than substance. (like The Mick says)
Not looking for a big gotcha moment, or some sneakily revealing quote. There is not a hole in Jeter's game in that regard.
I would just prefer that the piece be more about the guy, and his words - not so much about the guy who interviewed the guy, and his conflicted feelings about the guy.

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