What's buzzing:

Big League Stew

Getting Derek Jeter’s autograph can be humiliating

Big League Stew

View gallery

.

(AP)

Autograph-seeking fans of Derek Jeter and the lengths to which they'll wait for him during the offseason are the focus of a remarkable story by Scott Cacciola in the Friday edition of the New York Times. Like serfs seeking scraps from the lord of the manor, signature-starved adults line up, typically starting about 3 a.m. every morning, outside of the New York Yankees complex in Tampa. They're anticipating the arrival of Jeter, who is rehabbing his broken ankle.

Sometimes all they get is a glimpse of Jeter driving in and out of the complex in his Mercedes-Benz with glinting mirrored windows. No autographs. On Tuesday, he signed 10 autographs for perhaps 40 hopefuls who repeatedly were reminded of their place by a Yankees employee named John Johnson. Because spring training hasn't started yet, there are different expectations for Jeter when it comes to autographs. And dehumanizing rules:

With the glowering demeanor of a drill sergeant, Johnson delivered a series of instructions that several members of his audience could recite from memory: “Single file! No chitchat! He doesn’t want to hear about your personal life, so don’t ask him about his!”

[Also: Can the Dodgers buy their way to a championship?]

Some of the fans in the Times story simply humiliate themselves rather than having John Johnson do it. And yet, that's not the most riveting part of the Times story. Instead, it's the virgin attitude of 21-year-old Yankees prospect Tyler Austin that stands out. He always makes himself available to sign, the Times writes. And it's an easy decision for him:

He recalled attending a Chattanooga Lookouts minor league game as an 8-year-old and positioning himself for postgame autographs by moving down the right-field line, just past a gate that led to the team’s locker room. A couple of players stopped. Many more did not.

“I remember it vividly,” said Austin, an outfielder who has hit .331 in the minors. “My mom looked at me and said, ‘One day you’re going to be there, and I swear if I ever see you walk by anybody and not sign a thing for them, I will come and personally slap you right across the face.’ ”

View gallery

.

Please allow Tyler Austin the pleasure of signing for you.

Austin's got an All-Star mom. Of course, Austin's never had the same volume of requests made of his time that Jeter has. And even though he has done quite well in the minors so far (batting .331/.406/.563 with 23 homers and 41 stolen bases in 677 plate appearances), it's unlikely he'll ever be hounded like Jeter, the most popular Yankees player since Joe DiMaggio, probably. Still, let's check back with Austin in a few years after a few thousand signatures.

Regarding Jeter, the Times is careful in being — "fair" is the word — for not signing every single autograph. If he's criticized at all, it's buried between the lines.

It is different when spring training officially starts, Jeter is in uniform and fans are allowed inside the Yankees’ complex. At that point, there are any number of moments when Jeter might interact with fans. The same applies during the regular season, when Jeter has even been seen chatting with people in box seats while he is kneeling on deck.

[Also: Felix Hernandez's reported $175M deal bodes well for trio of aces]

OK, OK, we get it. He's not really a heartless baseball terminator. And if Jeter followed Tyler Austin's mom's advice to sign every single autograph for every fan, it's possible he might never get to the field on time for games. Still, there's something empty about checking your humanity at the door and not wasting Jeter's time by chatting him up so he can sign 10 autographs instead of three or four. It makes me want to no bother anyone ever again, even in non-autograph situations. Except maybe for Tyler Austin.

Pitchers and catchers report any moment.
Follow @AnswerDave, @MikeOz, @Townie813 and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter,
along with the BLS Facebook page!

More news from the Yahoo! Sports Minute:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Donald Driver's final stop in Green Bay: The home of a 78-year-old fan
Celtics' Rajon Rondo could return earlier than anticipated
Ray Lewis III follows in his parents' footsteps and signs with Miami

View Comments (2617)
  • Coric leads teenage assault on Roland Garros

    Coric leads teenage assault on Roland Garros

    By Martyn Herman PARIS (Reuters) - Croatian Borna Coric and Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis led the teenage contingent in the men's draw at the French Open on Monday but American Frances Tiafoe's debut proved a brief one. Coric, who plays with a … More »

    Reuters - 2 minutes 30 seconds ago
  • Analysis - Ancelotti the latest scapegoat for Real supremo Perez

    Analysis - Ancelotti the latest scapegoat for Real supremo Perez

    By Iain Rogers MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid fans could be forgiven for wondering whether a new president is needed rather than yet another new coach after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked on Monday. Ancelotti ended 12 years of bitter failure when he … More »

    Reuters - 3 minutes 22 seconds ago
  • Denver beats Maryland 10-5 for 1st NCAA men's lacrosse title

    Denver beats Maryland 10-5 for 1st NCAA men's lacrosse title

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Denver won its first NCAA men's lacrosse championship, beating Maryland 10-5 on Monday behind five goals from senior Wesley Berg. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Tennis-Coric leads teenage assault on Roland Garros

    (Adds quotes) By Martyn Herman PARIS, May 25 (Reuters) - Croatian Borna Coric and Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis led the teenage contingent in the men's draw at the French Open on Monday but American Frances Tiafoe's debut proved a brief one. … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Bears DE McDonald arrested again

    Bears DE McDonald arrested again

    Police say Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald has been accused of domestic violence in Northern California, the latest arrest for the former San Francisco 49er. Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke tells the San Francisco Chronicle … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago