Poetry in Motion: Departing Jeter and Letterman to Swap Roles in 2015


MANHATTAN – Anyone who’s recently settled into a new home will tell you that even moving from one borough to another can be daunting. So don’t be surprised if two of New York’s most beloved public figures soon ask for help lugging boxes.

Thursday morning brought official word from the CBS-MLB conglomerate Base Humor Ltd: New York Yankees veteran Derek Jeter and retiring late night talk show icon David Letterman will trade jobs shortly. Mr. Letterman will take over as the day-to-day starting shortstop for the Bronx Bombers, while Mr. Jeter will become the host of CBS’s The Late Show with David Letterman, a program likely to be renamed once Mr. Jeter assumes the position. The start date of this role reversal has been tentatively scheduled for April of 2015.

While not widely known as a comedian, Mr. Jeter considers himself “a big fan of humor” who is ready to “tell some jokes and have some fun out there.” Mr. Letterman likewise has expressed enthusiasm over his new opportunity.

“I’m gonna run like a monkey and hit me some dingers,” said Letterman at a press conference Friday, while unsuccessfully attempting to light one of his trademark cigars. The sixty-seven year old emcee then issued several loud yelps punctuated by giggles, before quietly repeating, “Hit me some dingers.”  In 2000, Letterman underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery to clear a severely obstructed artery.

News of Jeter’s appointment was said to be of little surprise to network insiders, though prognosticators outside CBS had floated other entertainers as potential suitors for the seat. But upon comedienne Tina Fey’s surprising announcement Tuesday that she would accept a lucrative offer to become Head Kickboxing Strategist at the Wolfslair MMA Academy in Widnes, United Kingdom, Jeter grew confident.

“I’ve always had finesse, be it in running out a fly ball or escorting Lady Gaga to a couch,” said Mr. Jeter, the Yankees team captain since 2003. “Listening to the inane anecdotes of my fellow celebrities is the next step in a proud career. My body is a haunted house and it will be good to sit at a desk.”

One of the rare players of modern times to play exclusively for the same organization since his major league debut in 1995, Mr. Jeter is a career .312 hitter and five-time World Series champion, with over 3,300 hits to his credit. While attending high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he is alleged to have auditioned for a local improvisational comedy troupe – the ‘Mazoo Kazoos – but failed to make the final round of callbacks.

Both of Mr. Jeter and Mr. Letterman’s governing bodies have issued assured public congratulations. During a Skype call with his granddaughter, CBS Chairman Les Moonves called the trade “a confusing but probably necessary win-win for baseball and variety television alike.” Perhaps more skeptical was Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who when questioned about potential risk in paying a sickly, neurotic senior citizen $12 million annually to play baseball said, “I mean, sure, we’ll work it out,” while asking reporters to help him locate his hat before the start of Friday evening’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Mr. Letterman’s CBS successor Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show, has likewise been offered a new role in professional baseball: a four-year agreement to don the mask, jersey, and paws of Arizona Diamondbacks mascot D. Baxter Bobcat. At press time the whereabouts of both Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Bobcat are unknown.

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