Derek Jeter leaves the field -- on Facebook

The Yankee star breaks the news of his retirement after this season on social media. Who needs the press, anyway?

Published February 12, 2014 8:07PM (EST)

Derek Jeter      (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Derek Jeter (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Who needs traditional gatekeepers when you've got social media? By choosing to announce his retirement from professional baseball (after the 2014 season) -- on Facebook, Derek Jeter proved once again that traditional models of news distribution simply aren't necessary.

There was no press conference and no public appearance from the sure-Hall-of-Famer Yankee shortstop. Just a lengthy heartfelt letter to the world from an athlete who has finally accepted that his body can no longer perform at a high level.

And it exploded. Half an hour after the announcement, Jeter's post had had 7000 likes and 11000 shares. Seven minutes later: 10,000 likes and 15,000 shares. By the time I finished this post, 15,000 likes, 20,000 shares, and just under 3000 comments.

The spectacle of stars and politicians (remember Sarah Palin) going straight to their fans and supporters vis social media isn't new. In December, Beyonce announced the release of her blockbuster album simply by saying "Surprise!" to her 8 million Instagram followers. Jeter's retirement is less of a cause for celebration, but it's part of the same tune. This is how it's done, now. For both birth and death, social media is the paper of record.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Retirement Facebook Retirement Social Media