Sunday was a significant day in Derek Jeter’s life. The New York Yankees honored their famous retired shortstop with a pregame ceremony that pulled out all the stops, and he got to see his famous No. 2 be retired by the only team he ever played for. He made an emotional speech to the stadium (and everyone watching on TV). And his wife and several family members were there to watch it all happen.
But it was also an important day for Jalen Jeter Martin, Derek Jeter’s adorable nephew. He got to wear a little Yankees uniform and watch Uncle Derek be honored by the Yankees. But it might not have been clear to Jalen what all of that meant until he got to ask his uncle a very important question.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) May 15, 2017
In the span of a couple of seconds, little Jalen had his dreams crushed by Uncle Derek. When Jalen asked his uncle if he could follow in his footsteps and wear his number one day, Jeter gave the only answer that was possible: no, because they’re retiring my number today.
And you can tell in the split second after he heard the question that father-to-be Derek Jeter was frantically searching his brain for an acceptable answer. You can imagine him wondering if it’s appropriate to lie to this kid to spare his feelings when he’s too young to really understand what’s going on.
Ever the pragmatist, Jeter chose to tell Jalen the truth, and tried to add a little snappy humor that was probably lost on Jalen. And then little Jalen looked down at the floor and almost started to cry. When Jeter saw his nephew about to be overcome by his feelings of disappointment, he walked it back almost immediately. He said “I might let you wear it, though” and gave Jalen a high five. Crisis averted.
To be fair, it wasn’t really Jeter who crushed Jalen’s dreams. It was the Yankees, who decided to retire Jeter’s number and make it impossible for Jalen to wear it. But that’s not really a distinction that matters to Jalen, because all he wanted was to be like Uncle Derek. When he’s older, he’ll understand why he can’t wear his uncle’s number if he ever plays for the Yankees.
But for now, it doesn’t matter. Especially since Jalen CAN wear his uncle’s number whenever he wants.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) May 14, 2017
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – –