The following dialogue is a work of fiction.
Friday night. Late September. Two teenagers hanging out on the stoop on Windsor Place.
“Fuck Derek Jeter!” Johnny shouted.
“Whaddya mean, fuck Derek Jeter?” answered Billy.
Johnny wasn’t having any more of the non-stop coverage on the Yankees shortstop of the past 20 years.
“I’m so tired of all this bullshit with Jeter on TV!”
“Yeah well he’s one of the greatest Yankees of all-time,” Billy assured his friend.
Everything on TV was about Derek Jeter. The New York Post, New York Times, Newsday and the Daily News all had the Kalamazoo Kid on their covers this morning.
“I don’t care, and he’s not one of the best Yankees of all-time,” Johnny shot back.
Oh boy, that infamous comparison between ballplayers. You can just feel it coming. Remember Mickey Mantle, Willie Mayes and Duke Snider?
“Yeah he is,” Billy protested.
“Gimme a fuckin break Billy. Last night was bullshit. Any other manager would have walked Jeter with an open base.”
MLB Network had the game live. Bob Costas and Kim Kaat were on the call. If you were a diehard, or stuck at work, you listened to Suzy Waldman on the radio. Maybe not the radio part.
Derek Jeter had the game winning hit with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Yankees had a man on second. Some sports talk radio callers this morning wondered if Orioles manager Buck Showalter should have walked Jeter to set up a possible double play.
“Showalter was drunk!” Johnny babbled.
By now you could imagine, Johnny was a Mets fan who hated the Yankees. Billy was a Yankees fan and hated the Mets. But many Mets fans from the neighborhood respected Jeter.
“Look bro, it’s Babe first, Gehrig second, Mantle and then Joe D.” Billy added.
Johnny sits there waiting for Billy to say Derek Jeter is fifth, ready to jump all over him.
“And Jeter is the fifth best of all-time.”
“NO FUCKIN’ WAY!” Johnny shouted as an old lady walking across the street looked over at them.
“Whaddya lookin’ at, mind your own business lady!” Johnny screamed.
By now Billy was laughing his ass off.
“Leave the lady alone,” Billy barked. “That’s Joey’s grandmother.”
Johnny was pissed. Perturbed and steaming.
“I mean Billy, even Yankee fans are tired of all the coverage.”
“Here comes Scooter, let’s ask him,” Billy uttered.
“Fuck Scooter, he’s a Yankee fan. Whaddya think he’s gonna say?” Johnny stressed. “Plus he doesn’t even have cable.”
“He knows the history of the ballclub,” Billy reminded Johnny.
“Later for him, he’s like 90 years old!”
Scooter came walking by the boys on the stoop. He looked at them, stopped and started to talk.
“SHUT UP SCOOTER!” Johnny shouted. “I don’t wanna hear about Jeter, Yogi Berra or Mickey Rivers.”
The old man couldn’t get a word out so he continued on his way. Billy was laughing again.
“Look man, Jeter is good, I will give him that but this tribute shit is too much.”
Billy was a bit frustrated trying to get Johnny to understand what all the fuss is about.
“I got an idea. Let’s go up to Farrell’s, stand outside and ask every baseball fan that goes in and comes out,” Billy stressed.
Johnny stood up and spit the sidewalk.
“That sounds like a plan,” Johnny said as both boys made their way up to Farrell’s.
The patrons in Farrell’s were both Yankee and Mets fans. Same for football; you had Giants and Jets fans, split down the middle. The Knicks had way more fans than the Nets though. Matter of fact, many of the Nets fans were once Knicks fans but decided to switch over. With the Nets home arena on Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, it was convenient to root for the Nets.
The two teens stood outside the side door of Farrell’s on 16th street and waited for people.
“Yo, Frankie, is Derek Jeter one of the greatest Yankees ever?” Billy asked.
Frankie looked at Billy, then at Johnny.
“Of course he is.”
“Where would you rank him?”
“Top 10, maybe top 5?” Frankie answered as he spit on the curb and put out his cigarette before heading into the bar.
“Thanks Frankie,” Billy shouted as the door slammed.
“You know what, this is a stupid idea, let’s get the fuck outta here,” Johnny protested.
“Nah man, we’re gonna ask a few more baseball fans.”
“OK, you ask the question, Larry King. I’m outta here,” Johnny teased as he started walking up to the avenue.
“Yo Johnny, where ya going?”
Without looking back, Johnny answered, “I’m going to get an egg cream at Rae and Otto’s.”
Billy stood outside Farrell’s.
“Yo Kenny, Derek Jeter a top five Yankee of all-time or what?” Billy asked another Farrell’s patron.
“Fuck Jeter and fuck the Yankees!” Frankie shouted as he walked into the bar.
But before he disappeared Kenny added, “Those scrubs are not even in the playoffs!”
Billy walked away and headed across ninth avenue to the Korean deli.
“You would think Mets fans would give Jeter some respect?” Billy mumbled to himself.