Why are the Yankees holding Derek Jeter Day on Sept. 7 when his final regular-season home game won't be played until Sept. 25?
Owner Hal Steinbrenner called the earlier date "the logical choice'' this past week and explained that he wouldn't want the Yankees to be distracted during what the team and Jeter hopes is a pennant race.
"I need everybody's focus to be on that game and on that series,'' Steinbrenner said. "Particularly Derek -- knowing Derek -- he's going to want to have his head in the game and not have to worry about anything else.''
There could be another reason: Business. The Yankees have made a mint this year on ceremonies honoring their former greats. Every one has been a sellout -- three of only 11 sellouts in the Bronx this season.
Tino Martinez on June 21. Goose Gossage on June 22. Paul O'Neill on Aug. 9. All sellouts.
One more is upcoming: Joe Torre's number retirement ceremony this coming Saturday, which as of Friday was not sold out.
And then the mother (and grandmother) of all must-get tickets: the official Jeter Day on Sept. 7 and Jeter's final regular-season home game on Sept. 25.
That's right -- it's basically 2 special days for No. 2. A sure sign of Re2pect. And a sure sign of understanding the public's thirst for Jeter-related event tickets.
Last season, the Yankees honored Mariano Rivera on Sunday, Sept. 22. The great closer's final home game was four days later.
This year, the Yankees chose not to hold Jeter Day on Sunday, Sept. 21, when they host division rival Toronto. Again, Steinbrenner explained that the decision to hold it on Sept. 7 was made in deference to a possible pennant chase.
"It's going to be a sellout regardless of when it is,'' Steinbrenner said. But left unsaid was that Sept. 7 against Kansas City on the opening Sunday of the NFL season might not have been a sellout without the Jeter boost.
The Yankees win twice when a game becomes a sellout -- they get the money the first time the ticket is bought and get a piece of the action on their official resale marketplace.
The Yankees have an agreement with TicketMaster for the Yankees Ticket Exchange, which was created in February 2013. The Yankees and Angels are the only MLB teams that do not use StubHub, which is the official online ticket resale company for the other 28 clubs, including the Mets.
The Sept. 25 game became a sure sellout the moment Jeter announced on Facebook on Feb. 12 that this was going to be his final season. And it has been a boon for the resale market ever since (all dollar figures cited below are for resale market tickets, not original face values).
As of Friday, tickets for the Sept. 25 game against the Orioles were going for an average of $638.67, according to online ticket aggregator TiqIQ.com. The lowest-priced ticket was going for $289.
The day before Jeter made his announcement, a ticket for Sept. 25 could be had for as little as $26. The next day, the average price shot up to $1,153.01.
Then, on July 18, the Yankees announced that Jeter was going to be honored on Sept. 7.
According to TiqIQ, the average price of a ticket for Sept. 7 before the announcement was $139.24, with the lowest-priced ticket available for only $16.
The next day, the average ticket had jumped to $497.98, with the cheapest one going for $218.
As of Friday, the average price was $534.92. The lowest was $195.
According to ticket aggregator Seatgeek.com, Jeter tickets are far outpacing Rivera tickets. Rivera's official ceremony tickets went for an average of $143. A ticket to his final home game cost an average of $101.
Another fun fact from Seatgeek: A premium ticket for Sept. 7 can be had for a mere $4,031. For Sept. 25, it's $5,402. The average price for a ticket to February's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium was $2,540.
The Yankees are third in baseball in home attendance this season with an average of 42,975 fannies in the seats (or at least tickets sold). Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals draw more fans per game.
So the Yankees don't need to honor Martinez or Gossage or O'Neill or Torre (or Bernie Williams in 2015, as they already have announced) or have a pair of Jeter Days to make money.
But it sure doesn't hurt.