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The Record Shows I took The Blows

By now, half the civilized world has seen the Gatorade ad celebrating the career of Derek Jeter.  And I must admit, it brought a tear or two to my eyes as well.  A classy guy who was born two years after I graduated high school, who makes 12 million a year playing baseball ans another $18-20 million a year in endorsements is retiring. But what brought a tear to my eye wasn't that ad, or his retirement.

It's that he dates women half his age.  Which makes the men MY age who think they are as classy as he is, want to date women half THEIR age.

I mean, come on Derek.  You've been linked to some of the hottest women in the world. But why, as you get older, does every one of them get younger, up to your newest gal pal Hannah Davis?  I mean, she was potty training when you went to your prom! How can you relate to this woman when you want to relive your World Series memories and she was in first through fifth grades? When you think about New York following 9/11 and how baseball and particularly the Yankees brought America back to life, what can she bring to the table but how she rode her bike to the beach in the Virgin Islands?  No Derek, she's beautiful, but once you get past her 24 year old beauty, you're eventually gonna want someone who won't be mistaken for your daughter.

Last winter, I went to dinner with a widower a year older than myself.  As we compared stories and talked about our children, inevitably the subject of dating came up. And while I hadn't dated anyone after Wingman's death, this man in a much shorter time frame, had already had two serious relationships with women closer in age to his sons than himself. He pulled out his iPhone and scrolled through pictures to show me a young woman and two kids under 12 with him at Disney World. Amazed, I asked "What did the kids call you-Grandpa?" To which he replied smugly "It's not what they called me that mattered.  It was what SHE called me."

Derek, even some of the sports magazines are upset with you. Alright, maybe they're jealous.  Maybe they don't have publicists that can hook them up with the latest Sports Illustrated or Maxim models like you can.  And maybe, like when I subscribed to a trial period on a popular dating website, most men between your age and mine want to date your girlfriends.  Any of your leftovers will do. But not me or my peers because 40 year old guys want 25 to 30 year babes and 60 year old men with their pathetic comb-overs and chicken necks are looking for equally pathetic much-younger-than-they-are women who want to date sugar daddies. Hell, at this rate, I don't need a dating site, I need to talk to my father about which of his friends are available.

 Frank Kaiser wrote a piece that Andy Rooney is often given credit for: that as you grow older, you'll appreciate women over 40. Because we're done with the drama. Because we're confident and self-assured. Because we have a World Series ring for surviving in a world where youth and beauty are as important to men as the boys of summer are.

So Derek, I toast you on your retirement.  I was in your house a couple of months ago to watch you play so I too could say I was there your final year.  I left a little of one of the biggest Yankee fans in Monument Park between his two favorite players. And right after you play your final game, I'll be having a milestone event of my own.  I don't have a special guy to share it with, so if you want to get a babysitter for your girlfriend, I invite you swing down to the Jersey Shore and celebrate with me.

I will gladly talk to you about the highs and lows of your baseball career, if you indulge me telling you about the highs and lows in my life-especially the past couple of years. In fact, I think you'll be surprised to learn that I'm in a League of My Own.

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