TIME Athletes

Dull Derek Jeter’s New Site Could Actually Be Cool

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
Derek Jeter speaks to the media following his last career game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 28, 2014 in Boston. Jim Rogash—Getty Images

That didn't take long. Three days into retirement, the Yankee great launches a media business. Here's hoping it's more interesting than he's been.

Oh, so that was it. For 20 years, Derek Jeter was one of the most boring athlete interviews in history. We now know why: he was apparently saving the good stuff for retirement — and he’d like to make a little money off it to boot.

Just three days into his post-baseball life, Jeter has stolen some attention from this year’s postseason with the announcement that he’s now the “founding publisher” of a new website, The Players’ Tribune. The conceit: a site where athletes can connect directly with fans, unfiltered, presumably at more than the 140 characters than Twitter currently offers.

“The Players’ Tribune aims to provide unique insight into the daily sports conversation and to publish first-person stories directly from athletes,” says a brief mission statement on the site. “From video to podcasts to player polls and written pieces, The Tribune will strive to be “The Voice of the Game.”

“I’m not a robot,” Jeter writes in an introductory note. So why did he often come across as one? “I realize I’ve been guarded. I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer. I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions. I do think fans deserve more than “no comments” or “I don’t knows.” Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective. Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me . . . We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.”

The irony of Derek Jeter, distruster of media, starting a media business is outright comical. (My colleague Jack Dickey nails it here on Twitter). Jeter’s pitch is that the site has “no filter.” But don’t expect real honesty here. Twitter already works too well for that. The reason athletes tend to spout their true feelings — which they often wind up regretting — on Twitter is that Twitter doesn’t give people time to think. The whole operation — the 140-character limits, the endless chatter on your timeline — thrives on quick outbursts. Athletes aren’t going to thoughtfully air grievances with teammates on Derek Jeter’s website, which will apparently be staffed with editors. The editorial process will slow things down, and discourage spontaneity. It gives publicists time to get involved. Readers don’t want glorified press releases.

A certain type of story, however, does offer a win-win proposition to both athletes and fans. Athletes like talking about their craft. And sports geeks like reading about it. If Derek Jeter offers deep insight into how he pulled off all those jump throws, for example, that’s safe stuff for him — nothing remotely controversial about it. And readers benefit. Baseball lovers would eat it up. Parents can share Jeter’s tips with their kids.

(Quick: what are the two most-viewed video clips on TIME’s YouTube channel? Number one — by over a million views — Kobe Bryant offering hoops tips. Number two: Novak Djokovic explaining his serve and giving other insights on his game.)

So I, for one, look forward to seeing what Jeter cooks up. And if it takes a boring athlete to make an athlete-bylined website compelling, so be it. And who isn’t ready for more Jeter right now anyway?

TIME Baseball

The Captain Says Goodbye to Yankee Stadium

The Yankees legend rose to the moment, ending the game with a dramatic walk-off hit.

TIME Baseball

Watch Derek Jeter Hit a Walk-Off Single in His Final Yankee Stadium At-Bat

The image of Jeter walking off in his final home at-bat will be a lasting memory, one of far too many to count in his 20-year career

You cannot write scripts like this. In the top of the ninth inning with the Yankees leading the Orioles 5-2, Derek Jeter took the field at Yankee Stadium for what was supposed to be the last time in his illustrious Hall-of-Fame career. But the Baseball Gods had other plans.

After a Nick Markakis walk and Alejandro De Aza strikeout, Adam Jones homered to left field off Yankees closer David Robertson to cut the Orioles’ deficit to one. Robertson then struck out Nelson Cruz to put New York one out away from the victory. But as fate would have it, Steve Pearce took the first pitch he saw, a 91-MPH cutter, and blasted the game-tying home run.

Due up third in the bottom of the ninth, Jeter would bat again.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter replaced pitcher Joe Saunders with Evan Meek, who allowed a single to Jose Pirela to begin the bottom of the ninth. After Antoan Richardson replaced Pirela as a pinch runner, Brett Gardner put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Richardson to second base.

Jeter, who had already doubled in his first at-bat before driving in the go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning, stepped into the batter’s box with one out, a runner in scoring position and a chance to further etch his name into the Yankees’ annals. And he delivered.

Jeter — with his trademark inside-out swing — went after the first pitch, an 86-MPH changeup and slashed it between first and second base. Richardson beat the throw home, the Yankees’ dugout flew onto the field and Jeter, normally humble and mild-mannered, let out a huge smile as he threw his hands into the air. The Yankee Stadium crowd burst into a frenzy and YES Network play-by-play announcer Michael Kay fell silent as Jeter, his teammates, the city of New York and the game of baseball reveled in the moment.

The image of Jeter walking off in his final home at-bat will be a lasting memory, one of far too many to count in his 20-year career. But more importantly, perhaps it’s a microcosm of Jeter doing what he’s always done. Win.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Baseball

Mo’ne Davis to Donate Jersey from Little League Shutout to Hall of Fame

Mo'ne Davis
Mo'ne Davis of Pennsylvania waits to pitch to a Nevada batter during the United States division game at the Little League World Series tournament at Lamade Stadium on August 20, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Rob Carr—Getty Images

Mo’ne Davis will donate the jersey she wore when she became the first female to throw a complete game shutout in the Little League World Series to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., according to the Associated Press.

Davis’ team will play an exhibition game at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field.

Davis was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in August.

Her Philadelphia team, the Taney Dragons, lost to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West in the U.S. semifinal game.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

MONEY Sports

Marketing Jeter’s Farewell Season, by the Numbers

New York Yankees batter Derek Jeter follows through on his swing
Ray Stubblebine—Reuters

Derek Jeter, by far the most respected and marketable baseball star in the modern era, is retiring this season. To commemorate the end of the Captain's historic career, fans have been asked to open their wallets early and often.

No matter how widely Derek Jeter is beloved in the sports world, many have questioned the relentless marketing of this, his final season, including a few critics even in the New York City media. “It’s such bad taste,” former New York Jets quarterback and current sports radio personality Boomer Esiason said in early September, referring to the “cheese-ball move” of rolling out new products and endlessly merchandising Jeter’s farewell season. “It kind of goes against everything Derek Jeter has been.”

Nonetheless, the sales have rolled on throughout the season and have picked up pace as the end nears. Here are some numbers that show how #2 has undeniably been #1 in terms of marketing and merchandising during his final season in pinstripes:

2 Number of epic tribute commercials released by long-time Jeter sponsors (Nike, Gatorade) this season commemorating his goodbye.

29 Number of different styles of Jeter baseball hats listed for sale at the Major League Baseball site.

$8.95, $260 Lowest get-in prices listed of late at StubHub for Orioles-Yankees tickets on, respectively, Wednesday, September 24, and Thursday, September 25. The latter is the last regular season home game, and therefore Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium. According to the ticket resale aggregation site TiqIQ.com, the average price paid on the secondary market for the game on the 25th has been in the neighborhood of $650 to $750.

$50, $210 Lowest get-in prices listed of late at StubHub for the Yankees-Red Sox tickets on, respectively, Saturday, September 27, and Sunday, September 28. The latter is the final game of the regular season, and therefore Jeter’s final game, and it’s being played at Fenway Park. The average price on the secondary market for a seat to the final game has been around $550, according to TiqIQ.

50-50 How the vote broke down among fans weighing in at a Yankees blog as to whether it was a good or bad idea for the Yankees to wear a Jeter commemorative patch on their jerseys—an extremely rare way to honor a still-active player.

$149 Starting price for tickets to a Jeter Q&A session on Monday, September 22, at the Millennium Hotel in Manhattan. Steiner Sports, the event host, has advertising a package with a Mezzanine Level seat and a Derek Jeter Commemorative Final Season Bat for $299. VIP packages, which include lunch, a signed baseball, and premium seating, go as high as $2,999.

296 Number of Jeter products available for sale at the sports apparel site fanatics.com. The site reports that Jeter sales lately are up 2,700% compared with the same period a year ago, and that Jeter merchandise has been purchased this season in all 50 states and 30+ countries. Among the top sellers lately is a commemorative Jeter fitted Yankees hat retailing for $36.95.

$410 Asking price for one of Jeter’s game socks (used, of course, and highly collectible).

$500 Minimum bid for one of four special pairs of Derek Jeter Jordan cleats being auctioned off to benefit Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. At last check, bids were well over $2,000, with roughly four weeks to go before the auctions close.

$695 to $795 Range of prices for a Captains Series Celebrating Derek Jeter watch from Movado, which went on sale in recent weeks.

$12,500 Price paid by a collector for a home run ball hit by Jeter in August at a Toronto Blue Jays home game. The Blue Jays put the ball up for sale immediately after the game. “A collector from Tennessee offered $8,000, I said $15,000, we met in between,” a Blue Jays staffer explained. It’s the highest price ever commanded for a piece of baseball memorabilia sold by the team.

$50,000 Highest price Jeter item listed recently at Steiner Sports. It’s a game-used road grey jersey and pants worn by the Captain this past August, in a matchup against the Baltimore Orioles. On the cheap end of the spectrum are unsigned 6″ x 10″ photos of Jeter from 2009 and wrist bands commemorating his 3,000th hit that can be had for under $4.

$19 Million+ Amount in grants awarded by Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation since the nonprofit was launched in 1996.

$24 Million Estimated earnings by Derek Jeter for 2014, according to Forbes, including roughly $15 million in salary and $9 million in endorsements.

TIME Baseball

Bryan Cranston Delivers a Hilarious One Man Baseball Show Spoof

The MLB's new commercial is pretty great

The One Who Knocks really knocks one out of the park in a new commercial for Major League Baseball–which features Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston touting an epic Looney Toons-inspired one man show about the sport.

“I felt it was just time for me to get back to the basics by diving right into my great passion: baseball,” Cranston says, over a puffed up dramatic musical score.

In a faux behind-the-scenes vignette, he describes this supposedly self-funded passion project: “Then it hit me: why not dramatize the entire MLB postseason? It would be my greatest acting challenge.”

Cranston (who is on a roll, guys) will—in the imagined universe of the mini-mockumentary—act out all your favorite moments in baseball all by himself. He’ll come up to bat, he’ll get a pie smashed in his face, he’ll talk in a dramatic voice about the mystique of the game. There will be ballet (he even gets dance lessons from Misty Copeland, in a delightful cameo appearance by the American Ballet Theatre dancer). There will be spoken word renditions of classic songs dripping with gravitas.

“Any actor that tells you that he is not inspired by Bugs Bunny is a liar, frankly,” he says. “Or just a hack.”

After watching this glorious piece, who does not want to make this fake one-man show a reality? We’ll just go ahead and get those Change.org petitions and Kickstarter accounts started now.

TIME Baseball

Top Mets Official Claims She Was Fired for Being Pregnant and Unwed

Rugby Expo 2012 - Day One - Twickenham
Leigh Castergine, senior vice president for ticket sales at the New York Mets, speaks during the Rugby Expo 2012 in London Adam Davy—Not For Release/Press Association Images

The team's owner said he was too "old-fashioned' to have her on staff, the lawsuit claims

A former top New York Mets executive is alleging that she was fired because the baseball team’s co-owner was “morally opposed” to her being pregnant and unmarried, according to a new lawsuit against the troubled franchise’s front office and co-owner.

Leigh Castergine, senior vice president for ticket sales at the Mets, and the first woman to hold such a senior position in the 52 years the team has been around, contends that co-owner Jeff Wilpon ridiculed and ultimately fired her when he learned she was pregnant, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in a district court in Brooklyn, says that Castergine had received annual six-figure bonuses and continuous promotions for lifting the team’s slumped ticket sales. But when Castergine announced she was pregnant, Wilpon “became fixated on the idea,” the lawsuit says.

“He frequently humiliated Castergine in front of others by, among other things, pretending to see if she had an engagement ring on her finger,” it says. The lawsuit also alleges that Wilpon told a meeting “of the team’s all-male senior executives” that he was “morally opposed” to Castergine’s pregnancy, and told Castergine that her boyfriend should propose if he wanted his girlfriend to get a raise.

Castergine also castigated the team for a series of poor plays — including several alleged public-relations flubs — that made her job all the harder. Some people told her, the lawsuit says, that selling tickets to the Mets was like “selling deck chairs on the Titanic.”

The Mets said in a statement that Castergine’s claims “are without merit.”

“Our organization maintains strong policies against any and all forms of discrimination,” the team said.

TIME Sports

Bird Watching: The Joys of Loving the Baltimore Orioles

Orioles Cover
The Sept. 11, 1964, cover of TIME TIME

On the anniversary of Ripken's record-breaking game, a fan reflects

You may not have any interest in being a Baltimore Orioles fan. Indeed, most people have no interest in being Baltimore Orioles fans. It requires you to root for a mid-market team from a relatively small city with a middling record of success. It’s been 31 years since the Orioles were in a World Series (a cool 11,315 days if you’re counting, which Baltimore fans do, and which is one more reason you probably don’t want to be one of them). Then there’s the business of playing in the same division year after year, season after season, as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Talk about getting your lunch money stolen.

But if you are an Orioles fan (and again, this is not something you should try at home), there are compensations. There is their blistering, and still ongoing, 2014 season, which saw them enter September with the biggest division lead and the second best record in baseball. How that will ultimately play out is something Orioles fans dare not even contemplate, since hot seasons can turn very cold very fast, and until something is done and in the history books it may as well not have happened at all.

Still, there is plenty in those history books already. There were the four World Series appearances and two championships from 1966 to 1971 — a sweet, buck-a-seat, pre-free-agent era, when little teams sometimes did very big things. There was the four-game sweep of the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers in that 1966 Series, in which the Dodgers scored a run apiece in the second and third innings of the first game — and then never scored again. A 5-2 Orioles win was followed by three straight shutouts. And then there was Earl Weaver — which is a phrase that does not require another word to be thrilling and riotous and make you so much happier to be alive than if you couldn’t say a phrase like “and then there was Earl Weaver.”

And there was too, 19 years ago this week, Cal Ripken, the Hall of Fame third baseman turned shortstop turned Iron Man turned legend, who on September 6, 1995 played in his 2,131st consecutive game without a rest — a 13-year run that broke Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 games, which up until that point had stood for 56 years. Ripken padded his record for three more years after that, finally taking himself out of a match-up against the Yankees on Sept. 20, 1998, after 2,632 games.

As TIME reported in that record-breaking week in 1995, in the 13 years Ripken had been showing up for work, doing his job, showering and going home, 3,695 other major leaguers had gone on the disabled list at one point or another — no fault of theirs surely, since the body breaks down, especially when it’s going through all the unnatural torquing and torsion a baseball player subjects it to. But Ripken’s body never broke down — or at least not so badly he couldn’t ice it, soak it, wrap it and then go out and play the next day. And if the very same injuries he was willing to play with were the ones that landed those other lunch-bucket players on the DL, well that was on their heads, wasn’t it?

Ripken played with thoroughbred blood in his veins — the son of Cal Ripken, Sr., a longtime Orioles coach and onetime manager; and brother of Billy Ripken, an infielder who played for four Major League teams during a career that included two stints with the Orioles. But it was Cal’s baseball success that seemed strangely fated. In 1972, when he was only 12, he was helping the team as a clubhouse boy during a training stint in Asheville, N.C., when a deranged local began shooting at the field. Then-shortstop Doug DeCinces spotted Ripken out in the open, scooped him up and hustled into the dugout with him. “I don’t think his feet touched the ground,” DeCinces said years later. In some ways they didn’t finally touch down until 1998.

TIME gave its nod to a few other Orioles in the long history of the team (60 years) and the magazine (91 years). There was the July 27, 1979, profile of Weaver, the Orioles’ manager — an issue that featured a somber looking Jimmy Carter filling almost all of the cover, and a red-faced Weaver screaming from the corner flap. It was an image that perfectly captured the crowing, overachieving, look-at-me rooster that Weaver was — and that he made his teams.

There was, too, the Sept. 11, 1964 cover — 50 years ago this week — of manager Hank Bauer, who would take the Orioles to that memorable World Series two years later. The headline of the story was “Old Potato Face” and it opened with a scene of Bauer meeting with reporters in his stadium office, finishing a beer (“The heat don’t bother them,” he said of his team, “’cause they drink this here good beer”) and crushing the can. Then he walked off to the shower — stark naked.

That, too, is part of what it means to be a Baltimore Orioles fan. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t easy. But now and again — every 50 or 31 or 19 years or so — it can be awfully sweet.

Read the full 1964 article about Hank Bauer and the Baltimore Orioles here, in TIME’s archives: Old Potato Face

TIME celebrity

Chris Pratt Messes Up First Pitch at Cubs Game, Is Completely Charming About It

He was in Chicago filming Parks and Recreation

We’ve finally found the one thing Chris Pratt cannot do perfectly: throw a baseball. He took the mound at Wrigley Field yesterday to throw the first pitch on behalf of the Cubs — and while it wasn’t a complete disaster, it definitely wasn’t great:

As expected, though, he totally pulled a Chris Pratt and was adorable and charming about the whole thing. The Parks and Recreation star, who was in Chicago filming the show, just threw his hands in the air, shrugged it off, smiled his Chris Pratt smile, and moved on with his life. Then he took selfies with fans because he’s the best:

To be fair, the pitch wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the other first pitches we’ve seen — but even if it had been the worst one of all time, we’re confident that Pratt would have found a way to make it adorable.

TIME Television

Infamous Ex-Pitcher John Rocker to Star in Newest Season of Survivor

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Former Braves player John Rocker participates in a pre-game ceremony honoring many Braves alumni at Turner Field on August 8, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Liles — Getty Images

Series kicks off on Sept. 24

The newest season of Survivor will feature none other than former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker, according to CBS Sports.

The retired pitcher, who played portions of six seasons in the MLB, will compete in Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water, which will debut on Sept. 24, CBS says.

Rocker is notoriously remembered for the bigoted comments he made about New Yorkers during a widely publicized interview in Sports Illustrated in 1999.

“I was raised in a professional baseball clubhouse and still carry a lot of that idiocy with me,” said Rocker in a trailer released by CBS.

The former reliever will appear on the show alongside his girlfriend Julie McGee.

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