A couple of weeks after Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit, a baseball milestone achieved with a home run on a five-for-five night and one that means automatic Hall of Fame inclusion, a reporter asked the Angels whether there might be any ceremony at the Big A honoring Jeter. The Yankees were scheduled to come to town Sept. 9-11.
It seemed like a fairly harmless and appropriate thing to do. Baseball lives by its numbers, honors them and especially honors those who achieve them without any blemish of steroids or gambling. Jeter fit that description perfectly.
The reporter was told that the Angels respected Jeter greatly and that the team’s public relations staff had already been discussing how to honor him “as a player and a person.”
They even had a precedent. Years ago, the team had had a formal ceremony to pay homage to Cal Ripken’s record streak of longevity.
The reporter wrote of the potential ceremony, and the emails started pouring in to the Angels.
Many fans hated the idea. Jeter was a Yankee. Angels fans said they are to be hated. One woman called him, in an email, “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” Others were even less kind.