The New York Mets got creative with their farewell gift to Derek Jeter on Thursday night. Before the New York Yankees took care of business with a 1-0 victory at Citi Field, club exec Jeff Wilpon presented Jeter with a mosaic of New York subway tiles that formed Jeter's uniform No. 2.
The Mets also donated a check for $22,222.22 to Jeter's Turn 2 foundation and had the bakers from "Cake Boss" create a cake in a subway series theme. The cake was underwhelming, the check was strong and the subway mosaic was awesome. Where he puts it, who knows? Bathroom? Foyer? Mud room? The Indiana Jones warehouse where they store the Ark of the Covenant? Jeter's going to have a museum's worth of stuff by the time his final season ends. As it should be; he's a great entertainer.
One note about the Mets ceremony for Jeter. Wilpon sort of stumbled verbally when announcing the check's amount. Any time you have a story involving the Mets and money, the state of their often-troubled finances bubble just below the surface. One of the team's principal investors, Saul Katz, recently denied he was selling his stake in the team, which has been on shaky financial ground since the Bernie Madoff ponzie scheme. (It has been said to be improving, however.)
OK, so Wilpon says:
"We figured we'd put a lot of "2's" on the check. All right? So, for $22,000... $222.22, Derek Jeter and the Turn 2 Foundation."
Flash bulbs go off, a few seconds tick away, Jeter looks at the over-sized check and says:
"Two-hundred and twenty-two?"
As in, $222,000. (Or perhaps $222.00.)
"No, no, no," Wilpon replies.
The peanut gallery of media erupts in laughter and Wilpon smiles as if to say, "Very funny, fellas."
Did Jeter actually make fun of the Mets finances? As the team was giving him a not insignificant amount of money? The New York Post thinks so and that's how they wrote their story. It's one thing for fans or media to do make fun of the Mets for their money problems, but it just seems very un-Jeter like. Why would he embarrass an organization that was giving him money, even in an off-the-cuff way. The Post — this might shock some people — might have misread this moment in time.
It's more likely that Jeter was making fun of Wilpon flubbing his line, or it's possible he was making a generic joke about the size of the check, not related to the Mets troubles. Here's the thing: Jeter has never made a media mistake and why should he start at nearly 40 years old?
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