Finally, The Derek Jeter 3,000 Hits Reality Show We've Always Wanted

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 4: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees flies out to center field during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 4, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

All eyes are on Derek Jeter as he closes in on 3,000 hits for the New York Yankees, and that includes an HBO camera crew that's prepared to document the chase for a reality show. Plus: Remembering Dennis Rodman in the movies, Darnell Dockett is (still) too good to be true, and reading the best movie that hasn't been made yet. Talking Points is a daily series that runs down some of the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Read the archives here.

Derek Jeter's on the brink of history. Which is to say, as he approaches 3,000 hits, he's on the brink of doing something that only 27 other players have done over the course of Major League Baseball history. It's the sort of towering accomplishment that defies context.

As everyone's favorite Yankee tries to join the likes of Eddie Murray, Craig Biggio, and Rafael Palmeiro, all we can do is watch. You know what that means in 2011, right?

This calls for a reality show! As the Associated Press reports, "Major League Baseball Productions is following the Yankees captain for a one-hour special called 'Derek Jeter 3K.'"

It'll be produced by HBO in the 24/7 style, and will include "new interviews with family, friends and teammates. Also interviewed will be Jeter’s girlfriend, Minka Kelly, and Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner." HBO's really flexing its muscles on this one.

Sure, their 24/7 model has proven bulletproof so far -- HBO's production team has already made us fall in love with the NHL and boxing -- but taking on Jeter is a whole different animal. With Derek Jeter and the quest for 3,000 hits, we're talking about a story that's already mostly manufactured by desperate media, and already been squeezed of all life by over-exposure. If HBO thinks they can add something to this whole spectacle ... Those Minka Kelly interviews must be pretty good.

See, our problem with Derek Jeter isn't that he's a villain, but that he's just so vanilla. On its own, that'd be okay. But not when the media insists on calling him the most iconic superstar of this generation and breathlessly covering his every move as he fades into the twilight of his career.

I don't hate Derek Jeter; I hate the people who want us to worship him.

Jeter's like the Will Smith of sports. Both emerged looking hip and maybe even a little bit edgy. Both parlayed their early success into starring roles in the late-90s and early 2000s. Both became larger than life in the mainstream and emerged as the biggest stars of their generations. But eventually, both stars began to look pretty overrated.

It's not that Will Smith's a bad actor, but he's not really a once-in-a-generation talent that changed the game forever. Bill Simmons made this point in a column last week. Will Smith was a charismatic actor that found himself in the right place at the right time. But go back and re-watch Independence Day, like I did this weekend. Bill Pullman pretty much owns the movie.

Smith's great too, but not that great. And by the same token, is Derek Jeter that much greater than Craig Biggio? Because I'm just sayin... If any baseball player needs a reality show, it's Nyjer Morgan.


You Know How Jeter's Reality Show Could Actually Work? If HBO went and watched each of Jeter's games with various ex-girlfriends of his. The list includes Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey, Adrianna Lima, Vida Guerra, Jordana Brewster, Tyra Banks, Jessica Biel, and probably 10 or 15 other supermodels that we've never even heard of. The most amazing accomplishments of Derek Jeter's have never had anything to do with baseball.

And the stories leave so many questions behind ... Did they know what they were getting into with Jeter? Do they hate him years later? Can they root for him as he goes for 3,000? Can we just stare at Alba for twenty minutes? Don't act like you wouldn't watch.


Revisiting Dennis Rodman In Double Team. Bill Simmons' new website, Grantland, has been a mixed bag thus far, but Michael Weinreb's column over there has been excellent every week. This past Friday, after a dull week without much to write about, Weinreb went in a different direction, and took us back to Dennis Rodman's star turn with Jan Claude Van Damme in Double Team:

All of that is wonderful spectacle, but what elevates this movie is the subtext. Because the first thing I could not help but contemplate was whether Rodman’s relationship with Van Damme in Double Team dovetailed with how he viewed his relationship with Michael Jordan in 1997.

Rodman’s dialogue, such as it is, consists largely of basketball metaphors, even though there is no evidence that his character ever played basketball, or that he has any sort of life outside of loitering in Fifth Element-style Antwerp nightclubs where women in scuba gear immerse themselves in diving tanks. His only reason for trailing along with Van Damme is that Van Damme owes him money for weapons; he is a mercenary, and he knows it, and it bothers him. He longs for approval from Van Damme, who is mostly concerned with proving to the viewing audience that he loves his wife, can handle all emergencies, and is able to lift a bathtub with his bare hands.

Rodman bails him out again and again: Hurling a stray human skull to detonate a magic coin and blow up a sewer grate, piloting a plane, and hot-wiring a compact car for the drive to Rome. Van Damme is unimpressed by it all. "You look like a carrot with earrings," he tells Rodman.

Read the whole thing for more context, but the parallels with the late-'90s are pretty much perfect. And more importantly, anytime someone uses a terrible movie to get nostalgic about one of the greatest cult heroes in sports history, we should all savor the effort for all its worth.


MMMMMMMM.... CLOUDS. What? It's not like anything else is going on this afternoon. From SB Nation's Cubs blog: "Fans streamed below the stands ... I took a number of photos. As you'll see, the clouds over the ballpark looked more like something designed by Industrial Light and Magic."

This is what the rapture's gonna look like one day.

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More snapshots of Angry God Clouds over at Bleed Cubbie Blue.  


You're More Likely To Survive A Plane Crash Than Click A Banner Ad.

From the Atlantic Wire (via Business Insider):

For example, "you are 31.25 times more likely to win a prize in the Mega Millions than you are to click on a banner ad." Not only that, "you are 87.8 times more likely to apply to Harvard and get in...112.50 times more likely to sign up for and complete NAVY SEAL training...279.64 times more likely to climb Mount Everest...and 475.28 times more likely to survive a plane crash than you are to click on a banner ad."

Unless they mean click a banner ad on purpose, this can't possibly be true. At least once a day I accidentally click on a banner ad that sends me to some stupid company's Facebook page, leaving me cursing the internet as a whole and swearing a boycott. But hey, if anybody wants to accidentally click on SB Nation's non-stupid Facebook page, be my guest!


A Closer Look At The NBA's Revenue Claims. There are a lot of benefits to being an owner in pro sports, but the best of all centers on the business model. Namely, only a handful of observers know how it works, and how to handicap its success (or failure) properly.

This is how owners can convince casual fans that their team is losing money and it's all because of out-of-control player salaries. Where a player signs a contract and that number gets passed around the media in black-and-white, owners can shroud their losses and profits in myriad ways. That's what makes someone like Nate Silver so indispensable during lockout season. Today at the New York Times, he broke down the NBA's claims of financial hardship and found ... Well, it's mostly bulls**t.

Instead, independent estimates of the N.B.A. financial condition reflect a league that has grown at a somewhat tepid rate compared to other sports, and which has an uneven distribution of revenues between teams — but which is fundamentally a healthy and profitable business. In addition, it is not clear that growth in player salaries, which has been modest compared to other sports and which is strictly pegged to league revenue, is responsible for the league’s difficulties.

Tom Ziller has more to add on Silver's analysis, but the key takeaway is that despite the rhetoric from David Stern and co., we really don't know how many owners are struggling. From an operating standpoint, the league appears to be steadily growing. The system's not perfect, but is it really broken? If you believe it is, then you're basically taking David Stern at his word. Ask Seattle how that worked out...


Here's The Monkey Who Took A Picture Of Himself. Just because.


Darnell Dockett Reacts To The Casey Anthony Verdict.



Finally, The Most Insane Story Of Your Day Is Here. It's from 2008, it's 10,000 words long, and on a dull summer afternoon, do you really have anything better to do than read about some of the most badass people on earth that you've never heard of?

Spencer Hall passed the story along last week, and in the most basic terms, it's a look at a crew of ship salvagers attempting the most impossible mission of their careers. These are the men who board industrial ships that would otherwise capsize in hopes of A.) Sparing the environment the harm inherent to a 5,000 ton ship capsizing, and B.) Getting a significant payoff from grateful ship owners that would otherwise be out hundreds of millions of dollars.

You can watch the author give a video overview of their Cougar Ace mission, but it's not quite the same without pictures like these and passages like this:

After more than a day of full-speed motoring through the North Pacific, the Titan team spies the Cougar Ace. At first, it's only a sharp rise on the horizon. But as the Makushin Bay approaches, the scale of the ship dwarfs the salvage vessel. In the distance, a 378-foot Coast Guard cutter — complete with helicopter and 76-mm cannon — looks puny compared with the car carrier. It's as if the men have gone through some kind of black hole and emerged as miniatures in a new and damaged world. The Cougar Ace lies on its side, its enormous red belly exposed to the smaller boats around it. The propeller floats eerily out of the water, the rudder flopped hard to port in the air.

"Holy fuck," Trepte mutters.

Read the whole thing over at Wired. And just for the record... If a Derek Jeter reality show can be greenlighted in time for his 3,000th hit, they damn well better make a movie about this.

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