The New York Yankees are retiring Derek Jeter’s famed No. 2 on Sunday, which you would expect to be an exciting event for Yankees fans and pretty much irrelevant for everyone else.
But because Jeter, who has been retired for nearly three years, is still baseball’s biggest celebrity, the national media is treating Sunday’s Derek Jeter Night at Yankee Stadium as a front-page event.
The Yankees-Astros game will be broadcast on ESPN as part of Sunday Night Baseball, and it will be preceded by Jeter-related coverage throughout the day, including a live airing of the jersey-retirement ceremony.
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- On Thursday, ESPN.com published a feature on MLB players who wear No. 2 in honor of Jeter.
- On Friday, the site will “showcase” the 10 greatest moments of Jeter’s career.
- On Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Marchand will have a piece (unclear if it will be print or video) on the Yankees’ lone non-retired single-digit number, No. 0.
- On Sunday morning, SportsCenter contributor Sarina Morales will be live at the stadium as early as 8 a.m. ET.
- At 3 p.m. ET, ESPN will air a SportsCenter Special, hosted by Zubin Mehenti, devoted entirely to Jeter’s career and legacy.
- At 6 p.m. ET, Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown will come on air, featuring a live look-in at the Derek Jeter Night ceremony. The show will include snippets from an interview Karl Ravech did with Jeter, which will also be available on ESPN.com. Longtime Jeter teammate Mark Teixeira will be an analyst on Baseball Tonight.
- At 7:30, the Yankees-Astros game will start. Jeter will not play in that game, but he will undoubtedly be a subject for much conversation. Aaron Boone, who played with Jeter, will call the game (along with Dan Schulman and Jessica Mendoza), and Jeter’s former manager Joe Torre will visit the broadcast booth.
Got all that?
Of course, ESPN is not the only national outlet that will cover Derek Jeter Night intensely. MLB.com has been recognizing Jeter on Twitter all week and will surely go all-out Sunday, and the Yankee Stadium press box should be packed for the ceremony and the game.
The depth and abundance of coverage reflects baseball’s current lack of crossover stars, ESPN’s love of celebrity athletes and Jeter’s all-around popularity.
Will, say, Chipper Jones get the same treatment when his number is retired in Atlanta. Gee, I wouldn’t bet on it.