I can hear George Steinbrenner now:
That's not the way I taught you boys.
Sure, I'd rather not spend more money than I have to. But if you don't spend the money on Jeter, he goes to another team! You want him on the Red Sox? The Angels? Either one of them could beat us in the Playoffs next year!
How about the Giants? They got a lot of new cash from winning the World Series, and they're interested. The Dodgers, too. They could get that ownership thing settled any day now.
How'd you like to play one of those teams in the Playoffs? Or in the World Series? You want Jeter getting a walkoff hit to win the Pennant? Or the World Series? Against the New York Yankees? What'll that do to the people of New York? It'll drive them right into that fake Ebbets Field out in Queens to watch the Mets!
And why the hell are we letting that loser Nolan Ryan take Pettitte away? He proved what kind of man he is. Texas? He's from Houston, the Rangers are in Dallas! After they embarrassed us on the field, you're gonna let them embarrass us in the boardroom? No way! They don't take our Andy Pettitte away, we take their Cliff Lee away!
Yeah, it costs a lot of money. Every title we won cost a lot of money, and when we won it, we made it all back. We're the Yankees, we're always going to make money -- as long as we win! We didn't win in the Eighties, and while we still made money, we weren't making as much money as the damn Mets!
I woulda had Jeter, Pettitte, Lee AND Mariano Rivera signed by now. Hank, Hal, if you don't get them all signed by Christmas, it'll make us look stupid. And the New York Yankees are not in the business of looking stupid. We're in the business of winning World Series!
Brian Cashman, if you don't get at least Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera signed by Christmas, you're fired!
I got half a mind to reach beyond the afterlife and bring Joe Torre back as general manager. At least he listened to me! You boys didn't even listen to me while I was alive and right in front of you!
The Hall of Fame... You think I care about that? I'm George Steinbrenner. I'm all about the next title! Jeter can win that for us. "In decline," my fanny! When I was his age, I was just gettin' warmed up!
Not, now, Billy. I know you think it's "Less Filling." This is not the time for that!
What's that, Billy? You want us to go after Carl Crawford? Again with the stupid "running game"? Billy, you've been giving me that crap since the beginning! We HAVE a running game, Billy! We got Brett Gardner! He's got more upside than Crawford AND he's won a World Series!
I'm startin' to feel like Rodney Dangerfield. You know what I mean, Rodney?
"Yeah, George, I tell ya, I don't get no respect, not even in Heaven! Bein' Jewish, all my life, Christians were tellin' me, 'Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you.' I get up here, and I find out he only likes me as a friend! And everybody else, they get up here, they get silk wings and a golden harp. Me, boy, I tell ya, I got polyester wings and a tin tuba! No respect at all!"
Update: Apparently, the San Francisco Giants have signed Miguel Tejada to play shortstop. This is a bad thing for them: Tejada is older than Jeter (by one month), about as productive (which is worse, because he's supposed to be a power hitter), and is tainted by steroids, and the Giants, long the enablers of Barry Bonds, really shouldn't be signing somebody like that. To say nothing of Tejada being an all-around jerk, which will also remind people of Bonds. But it does mean that the Giants will not be the team that signs Jeter.
Nor with the Colorado Rockies, who re-signed Troy Tulowitzki, who has been in the late 2000s what Jeter was in the late 1990s.
The Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers remain possibilities -- and possibly others. The longer Jeter remains unsigned by the Yankees, the greater becomes the possibility that he will be signed by someone else, and the greater becomes the possibility that the Yankee Dynasty comes to an end.
Especially if we have to rely all that much more on A-Rod. Cue the creepy music that indicates a movie character is doomed.
Also, Sports Illustrated has named Drew Brees, quarterback of the defending NFL Champion New Orleans Saints its Sportsman of the Year, succeeding Jeter. A great choice: Good guy, great achievement, and a great comeback story -- for him personally, for the Saints, for the New Orleans area, for the entire State of Louisiana.
Frankly, I don't think anyone else was a viable candidate this year. Maybe Tim Lincecum, for not only pitching great and winning a World Series but making baseball more fun in the process.
Maybe Rocky Wirtz, for picking up the pieces left behind by his father, and not only making the Chicago Blackhawks -- one of the 19 oldest teams in North American major league sports once you take out moved teams -- matter again, but guiding them to their first Stanley Cup in almost half a century.
Maybe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for holding players and coaches accountable the way they haven't been, not even under Pete Rozelle -- the only previous commissioner of any of the top 4 sports leagues to win SI's SOTY, in 1963. But even Goodell isn't totally deserving, because he seems intent on leading the owners to forcing the kind of impasse that killed the 1994 baseball postseason and the entire 2004-05 NHL season.
So Brees is an easy choice. If there's a more deserving choice out there -- say, a super and wonderfully charitable athlete, coach or team executive, well above and beyond the call of duty -- he doesn't have the kind of profile a charitable and Super Bowl-winning quarterback does. So it was Brees, with ease.