Derek Jeter has come a long way from his days of eating junk food, starting with his famous Seattle dinner in 1995, when he shared a burger with his father at an Emerald City McDonald’s following his major league debut.
“When you’re younger, I didn’t really pay much attention to what I was eating. You look at the fitness and health craze going around, I think people are more aware of what they’re putting in their bodies,” Jeter said Monday in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel & Tower at Columbus Circle. “We used to send the batboys to the fast food restaurants around the (old Yankee) Stadium and eat right before the games.”
Healthy eating is a mainstay for the 40-year-old captain now, he said, which is why he was intrigued when Luvo food company came calling earlier this year to gauge his interest as a partner. Monday, Jeter braved the summer heat and a throng of fans and tourists to help serve some Luvo treats out of the company’s food truck. “I was introduced to (Luvo) a while back. If I’m going to be honest with you, when I first heard of it, I was like, ‘C’mon…’ But then once you taste it and get an opportunity to see the nutrition factor, it aligns with everything that I’ve been about, especially with the (Turn 2) Foundation,” said Jeter, referring to his charitable organization for disadvantaged children. “We’re always trying to promote healthy lifestyles.”
Officially, he is a Luvo brand development officer, but with his final season still underway, Jeter said he won’t play too active a role until his final game in pinstripes is in the books. In other words, don’t expect to see the Yankee captain driving the Luvo truck anytime soon.
“I’ve still gotta play, that’s first and foremost. When I’m finished, I’ll be obviously a lot more hands on depending on what projects I’m doing,” said Jeter. “I really don’t want to have a schedule (after the 2014 season). Things like this I’ll enjoy. But I don’t want to sit down and map out a 9 to 5 job. I want to be able to relax a little bit.”
One of Jeter’s other business ventures — his Jeter Publishing imprint — is already off and running, and one of the executives who works with the Yankee shortstop said Jeter is hardly an absentee publishing mogul.
“There’s nothing that escapes his attention,” said Louise Burke, the president of Gallery Books Group, which is partnered with Jeter. “Everything you read and hear about him has been true – he’s a really good partner and we couldn’t be happier.”
The children’s division of Jeter Publishing will release “The Contract” in September, which Burke said is a middle grade series book (for ages 8-12). “It’s based on the real-life occurrence of his signing a contract with his parents that enabled him to play baseball, if he agreed to live his life a certain way,” said Burke. A photo book entitled, “Jeter Unfiltered” will be released after this season, and is a “beautiful commemorative book that looks back on his career,” said Burke.
When his baseball career ends this year is unclear at this point, but Jeter said fans and pundits need to “relax a little bit” before demanding a Cliff Lee addition or counting the Bombers dead for the playoff hunt.
“Where are we in the standings? I think everyone needs to relax a little bit. We have a pretty good team. We can play better,” said Jeter. “I like the position we’re in. If you win your games you’ll be fine.