Like VH1’s Behind the Music, this is CDTF’s journey into yesteryear to investigate the truth behind some of baseball’s…oddest and most intriguing moments.
While fooling around on SI.com on Tuesday night, one unnecessarily long article led to another, which then turned into some photo gallery, which eventually led to the above-pictured treasure. For the record, the original caption from the Vault was “Jeter poses with Alex Gonzalez, Edgar Renteria, Rey Ordonez and Alex Rodriguez for a 1997 SI cover story on the next generations of shortstops.” What it fails to mention, or should have said, is that “Jeter poses shirtless with two busts, a dude named Edgar, and his future nemesis, Princess Alex the Juiced of Miami.”
Who – I mean really – who in their right mind was like, “You know what? Let’s put these five twenty-something-year-old breakout stars together, make them take off their shirts, and…wait. Let’s give them all thick gold chains for some pizzazz. No, not there. Sit them in a slightly awkward position – close, but not too close, to convey that they are both friends and competitors – fucking genius. And then just ask each of them to exhibit a completely different facial expression. Derek, boy genius, make him flex, but just slightly, and then simultaneously smirk, barely, just barely, with the opposite side of his mouth. The opposite side only. Behind Derek, let’s hide Rey Ordonez; he just plays for the Mets. Give him the cheapest gold chain we have and direct him to express a look of bashful constipation, or like he is auditioning for the future pilot of To Catch a Predator. It is imperative, however, that his freakishly long fingers are displayed like a vulture’s talons. It is 1997, so I guess we can still be a little racist, so just throw Edgar Renteria back there, too. Give him the best bling we have to make up for it. Sure, throw in a bracelet, too. I would like him to look somewhat confused, though, like he is contemplating bolting for the door and wondering why his agent signed him up for gay porn. Alex Gonzalez, on the other hand, should be positioned directly between Edgar’s thighs, seductively leaning forward, as if he is very much enjoying the gay porn that his agent signed him up for. Finally, let’s sit the important Alex right up front, next to his best shirtless buddy, and ask him to smile as creepily as possible. His obscenely large lips should be the focal point of the photo. Thankfully, he already shaved his chest. Then, on the count of three, have everyone yell out ‘We play with balls!,’ or whatever gets them as excited as we are for this epic shoot.”
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When this shindig was over and the cameras were packed up and the editors went home and everyone took off their pants, the photographer muttered aloud, “Well, at least if the baseball thing doesn’t work out for them, this photograph will make the perfect cover of their first boy band album." The five shortstops signed 221 baseballs, even though no one asked them to, and then went back to Derek Jeter's apartment, waking up the following morning amongst an array of empty Zima bottles, condom wrappers, and voicemails from their mothers.
Seriously, how amazing is this picture? Almost as amazing as a three-day weekend. Have a good one, guys!