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You can own the dirt beneath Derek Jeter’s feet

Jun 22, 2011, 9:35 AM EDT

Derek Jeter smiling

In ancient times, some random sect of people might lay claim to the remains of a venerated hero as a part of hero cult.  Parts of their weapons or clothes, a lock of hair, earlobes, whatever.  This practice developed over the centuries and, like most ancient practices, was adopted and/or co-opted by organized religion, with stuff like Elisha’s bones and Paul’s handkerchief becoming holy relics.

Over time the relic game got pretty sophisticated, to the point where the Catholic Church classified them by orders of degree.  Some stuff — actual items associated with Christ or saints themselves — are first class relics.  Down the list you go to, I dunno, the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

Baseball plays the relics game too, though we don’t call it that. We call it “memorabilia.” The idea is still the same, though: the preservation of an inanimate object that, in and of itself, has no value apart from the veneration of an intangible event or memory in tangible form. Jerseys. Autographs.  That kind of thing.

Baseball should have degrees of this too.  Do you own the bat that with which Babe Ruth hit home run number 60 in 1927? Heck, that’s like the bones of John the Baptist.  The jersey Pete Rose wore when he broke Ty Cobb’s record? That’s totally as good as a spoon once used by St. Whatshisface to eat the mush which have him strength to do whatever miracle it is that is ascribed to him.

Not sure where to put this, however, but I’m guessing it’s farther down the list:

Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit will be a cause for celebration, marketing and — not least of all — digging up dirt.

After the game, a groundskeeper will tote a shovel and bucket onto the field to scoop five gallons of dirt from the batter’s box and shortstop’s patch. In baseball’s version of preserving the chain of evidence, the bucket will be sealed with tape and verified as the dirt beneath Jeter’s feet with tamper-proof holograms …

… The dirt — from Yankee Stadium if all goes perfectly, but from some ballpark, perhaps Citi Field July 1 to 3 — will find its way into a vast and lucrative universe of celebrity memorabilia and collectibles, much of it orchestrated by a company named Steiner Sports. Tablespoonfuls of the dirt will be poured into capsules to dangle on key chains; ladled into disks to be framed with photographs of the hit (in what is called a dirt collage); and glued into the interlocking NY carved into commemorative bats.

People don’t realize this, but I have a time machine, and I was able to transcribe a conversation between some people who bought the Derek Jeter dirt in 2012:

Man #1: He has given us… His shoe!

Man #2: The shoe is the sign. Let us follow His example. Let us, like Him, hold up one shoe and let the other be upon our foot, for this is His sign, that all who follow Him shall do likewise.

Man #1: No, no, no. The shoe is a sign that we must gather shoes together in abundance!

Woman: No, cast off the shoes! Follow the Gourd!  Follow the Gourd! The Holy Gourd of Jerusalem!

Man #2: No, hold up the sandal, as He has commanded us!

 

  1. yankeesfanlen - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    I’ve got dibs on the divots from his GIDP balls BEFORE and AFTER the revered 3000!

  2. sdelmonte - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    I want the dirt beneath Jose Reyes’ feet. Or maybe the dirt that might have been beneath his feet as he rounded second heading to third.

  3. The Common Man - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Jeter is the Messiah! And I should know; I’ve followed a few.

  4. aceshigh11 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Grovel at the feet of St. Jeter, the greatest, most courageous and perfect man to EVER live!

    In all seriousness, I’m a Red Sox fan, but I find all the piling-on that has been ongoing with regard to Jeter a bit baffling.

    The guy goes from impeccable hero to goat in the span of a year because (a) he botched his contract negotiations, (b) he continues to bat leadoff when he’s clearly not up to it, and (c) the dude’s getting old. It happens.

    Eh, you know what? Continue piling on. He’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars and is banging Minka Kelly. I’m sure he’s not losing any sleep (aside from Minka, of course).

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      In all seriousness, I’m a Yankees fan and I would take his hundreds of million of dollars and bang Minka Kelly too…just saying…

      • aceshigh11 - Jun 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

        Uh, well who the hell wouldn’t?

        Besides Richard Simmons, I mean…

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        I didn’t say it wasn’t an obvious comment!

  5. dodger88 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Classic Monty Python reference. Love of “Life of Brian”!!

  6. itsacurse - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    If his OPS is greater than a duck’s, he stays in the leadoff spot.

  7. Jonny 5 - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    I bet it smells of Ben Gay and just oozes self confidence.

    • aceshigh11 - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:05 AM

      “Smells like…victory.”

      Jeter don’t surf.

  8. kopy - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Do people really like Jeter this much?

    • tigertigerwoodsyall - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      Yes. He’s a professional. He’s never in trouble with the law. He’s been a top notch ball player since coming into the league in 95/96. He’s got 5 rings and will likely get at least 1 more. He’s first ballot HOF. The women dig him because of his looks. The guys dig him because of baseball, but equally as important…the dig him because he lands grade A choice women. He gets more press than most because of where he is, what he’s accomplished and the team he plays for. It’s not his fault that he’s the man on the team that resides in the media capital of the world.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 22, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        Actually, he’s had some prickly tax evasion issues with the state of New York, so it’s not entirely accurate to state he’s never been in trouble with the law.

      • tigertigerwoodsyall - Jun 22, 2011 at 4:16 PM

        Good call on the tax thing! That kind of went away quietly. I’m sure he paid up somehow. Other than that, a pretty clean guy when it comes to the law.

  9. Kevin S. - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Double-barreled Monty Python reference today? Way to bring your A-game, Craig.

  10. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Sweet baby Jesus I’m a Yankees fan, but pimps are in envy for how much the Yanks sell their [soul] wares for.

  11. cur68 - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    Hey man, that dirt’s got ‘leadership qualities’. Can’t put a price on that.

  12. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    This is retarded. Will he be wiping the sweat from his brow and giving away the rags ala Elvis? Or maybe he can put the jockstrap he’s wearing the night it happens up for bidding on the internet, bet there would be a healthy market out there for that! Unwashed of course!

    • raysfan1 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      1) “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”–HL Mencken
      2) Elvis was generous and also died pre-eBay. No doubt your jockstrap idea would make $.

  13. tigertigerwoodsyall - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Slow news day, Craig?

    • IdahoMariner - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

      Is “slow news day, Craig?” supposed to be a complaint about this item being on this blog? Or commiseration for Craig having to dig through all of the stuff he digs through to find us stuff to read?

      Either way, I hope these kinds of comments don’t dissuade Craig from finding this stuff and bringing it to us. I don’t want to dig through all the other websites, baseball-related and not, to sate my baseball jones. I come here — hoping that Craig, et al. has found a few interesting/entertaining nuggets here and there to share. Some of the stuff, meh. But I like not having to lose my job by wasting hours looking for baseball…and I like having the HBT gang’s take on it, and most of it actually is interesting and/or entertaining. Sometimes I am just not in the mood to read about a pitcher’s performance being worth a big contract (or not) or whether a player has been striking out more often this season than last, and then I am happy for this kind of thing. Other times, I am in the mood to read the player evaluation/game evaluation/management evaluation stuff…and I am still happy to have a diversion like this.

      SO, long-winded way of saying, keep it up Craig.

  14. Mark Armour - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    I want the dirt that is 10 feet to the left of his position at Yankee Stadium. You know, dirt that he has never set foot on.

    • The Common Man - Jun 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      +1

  15. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Just what I want, dirt that has been spat on hundreds of times, a veritable petri dish of bacteria. I’m guessing there are more germs in that dirt than on the games at your average Chuck E Cheese, not to mention the STD’s sure to be present.

    Also, good luck getting permission to do this outside of Yankee Stadium. I hope it happens when they are here in Cleveland, no chance in hell they let the field get dug up for some memorabilia company….

    • mrhojorisin - Jun 22, 2011 at 2:21 PM

      Just imagine… some enterprising evil scientist can buy some of this dirt, extract the DNA and create a race of Super Short Stops! Or really crappy ones, depending on how good an actual scientist he or she is.

  16. professor59 - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Since the ground beneath his feet is already worshiped, this merely allows the faithful to complete their shrines.

  17. jimbo1949 - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    ‘s funny, could’ve sworn I read about this on NYT.com last night, Richard Sandomir.

  18. bigyankeemike - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    This is what happens when my team, the biggest and most hated moneymaker in team sports, gets in bed with con men.

    Steiner’s Sports is nothing more than a bunch of huckster rip-off artists that would, if they could, mine the sewers emanating form the Yankee locker room and freeze-dry the findings to pawn off as “exclusive” Yankee you-know-what.

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