Bronx Bumblers

It doesn't sound like Derek Jeter loved the Yankees using highlights of him losing to the Sox in ‘04 as “motivation”

October 27, 2022

It’s been a tough week to be wearing pinstripes. On Sunday, the Yankees were swept out of the ALCS by the Houston Astros, shattering years of Yanks fans’ delusions that they were only bested by the sign stealing. The Astros proved once and for all they that are the superior team on the field and the better-run franchise off of it, sparking a week of consternation and self-examination for the Bronx Bombers.

There have been reports that players, including superstar free agent Aaron Judge, no longer want to play for the Yankees after being ruthlessly booed throughout the ALCS. There have been widespread calls for the firing of manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman, which Hal Steinbrenner seems poised to ignore. But most of all there’s been the rumor that the Yankees, down 3-0 to the Astros, were force fed highlights of their own franchise choking away a three-game lead in the 2004 ALCS to the arch-rival Red Sox as “motivation” to mount a comeback. Yes, this is just as ass-backward as it sounds.

That humiliating kernel kicked off a wave of backlash so impassioned (and equally nonsensical) that the Yankees’ own play-by-play man Michael Kay likened it to the Lincoln Assasination.

While not nearly as incendiary or unintentionally hilarious as Kay’s diatribe, the most damning condemnation of the Yankees’ inspirational strategy came from club legend Derek Jeter, one of the stars of that very 2004 squad, who seemed genuinely ill when asked about the debacle on Wednesday.

This is the look and sound of a man trying to be diplomatic while barely containing his projectile, clubhouse-coating nausea. “It still makes me sick to this day thinking about it,” he says, before adding with a disgusted shrug, “So I don’t know, you’d have to ask them that question.”

Per Jeets MO, he doesn’t give away much. He’s cagey. He says a lot with a little. But you better believe that if he were in that clubhouse last weekend, there would have been no way in a freshly frozen hell the Yankees would be watching highlights of losing to the Red Sox as a pregame pump-up. No chance. Not on The Captain’s watch.