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Sunday, February 12, 2012

WHY JETER IS THE ULTIMATE NEW YORK YANKEE

“There’s nothing you can’t do…” –Alicia Keys in Empire State of Mind

You know how much I admire and appreciate Derek Jeter in pinstripes. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it's exciting. What I'm talking about is when you hear a whiff of a Yankee prospect in their farm system and then the hype builds and builds. That's how it went down with Derek Jeter and it was before the Internet made news travel quicker. When the hype happened, you knew something special could happen. I’ve told you the story about when I was still in college in the early 90’s and Mikey and I would go to card shows and try and snatch up as many Jeter cards as we could find. We did OK and looking at them now, we have some gems. The hype surrounding this kid from Kalamazoo was big, but 5 championships later... who would have known?

Today, this man is not only standing on top of the mountain, but he’s managed to climb a hill on the mountain to be bigger and better than all of the rest, but not only in his playing ability but in his leadership and poise as well. I base it this way, when the little league season begins, the coach hands out uniforms. Every kid wants #2. Luckily the Yankees have an enormous history, so if your kid comes home with #5, at least you can say “That’s DiMaggio…good number,” Or "#7, the Mick.” But the kids only heard of those guys, They KNOW Derek Jeter and they WANT #2. Jeter is iconic and he’s larger than life to these kids and in many regards, to us adults who really want a role model for their children.

Last year I wrote WHY DEREK JETER IS EPIC FOR 1 GOOD REASON and the piece was important to me because it all goes back to family. The guy is more focused and determined than any player I can recall and it's because of his upbringing. Play hard and work hard and you'll provide results and have leadership and present sportsmanship. It's an easy thing to say, but harder to do. But Jeter has done it all these years. He carries himself like a Lion, but he’s as tame as a sheep. I say that for 1 reason only, because I believe good things happen to good people. There’s no scandals attached to this guy, every girl I’ve read on Twitter is obsessed with the Captain and again, every kid fan wants to wear #2.

Derek Jeter has 5 championship rings, he is the Yankees all-time hits leader, ahead of Lou Gehrig. Who the hell would have thought that would have happened? Jeet’s a 12 time All-Star, he won Rookie of the Year, hell, he's even won the All-Star game MVP and the World Series MVP, both in 2000. Knowing all that explains why Jeter hit a home run for his 3000th hit, doesn't it? No one else could have done that...no one...but Jeter could and did. Look, if you don’t want Jeter to be your kids role model at this point, I'm not gonna lie, I’d be confused.

It’s amazing to think that after the 2010, .270 season, the world doubted Jeter would get back to his old form. Many were looking for a reason to give up on the guy. We here at Bleeding Yankee Blue never did. We believed. He responded with a .297 season in 2011. Now everyone’s silent. Thank God. True, it’s sad to think that Jeet may be leaving us soon because he’s given us so much in his career in pinstripes. He, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are probably the classiest group of guys I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime. There’s no ego….ever. There’s no selfishness, arrogance, just old fashion hard work and guts. We’re lucky to have seen this in our lifetime, because we won’t see it again for a long long time. Sure, we see glimpses… Robinson CanoDavid Robertson fit the mold, but it’s still early. We need to give our future leaders time to perform and contribute. That’s not a knock, that’s the reality. I do believe though that a lot should be said about homegrown talent and baseball. They’re a tight knit family together, and they develop into champions that way. It’s about Team. Jeter is Team.

To be honest, I feel bad for every young kid in the Yankees farm system coming up after our mighty Derek Jeter calls it a career. They’ll need to live up to their hype as well as always being compared to the great Derek. Jeter raised the bar so high with his ability and leadership, no one will ever compare…for a long, long time.

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