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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

THE SECOND COMING OF DEREK JETER

I don't have to tell you just how devastated I was the night Derek Jeter fell to the ground in the playoffs.  I gasped... we all did.  At that moment, we all saw the writing on the wall.  It was over, our champion was down.

Combine that with this slow off-season and there hasn't been much to get happy about if you're a Yankee fan.  We all feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us ever since Jeter went down.  We're in a weird funk, so much so that I personally didn't even realize just how close we were to Pitchers & Catchers.  It's crazy to me to think that we've been in the month of January trying to blame everyone in Yankeeland for this lousy off season.... then, yesterday we got a truly great piece of news! Derek Jeter was not only taking batting practice, but he was in the field working on his glove work as well.  I mean, are you freaking kidding me?  How exciting is that?
According to the Associated Press (HERE), "Derek Jeter worked out on a baseball field Monday for the first time since breaking his left ankle last October.

The 38-year-old New York Yankees captain fielded 55 grounders on the grass in front of the infield dirt at shortstop at the team’s minor league complex. He also hit in a batting cage. 


'Everything went well,' Jeter said as he drove out of the complex."

Now, truth be told, Jeet could have a cast on his leg and he'll tell you he feels great, so reading a quote from him saying that everything went well almost seems like a throwaway line to me.  I don't care. I DO care that he's on the field and took a bunch of grounders.  That means a lot, trust me.

(In Photo: Matt Diaz)
It's a miracle and to be honest, it let's me forget about us signing guys like Matt Diaz... no offense to Matt Diaz by the way, but you know what I mean.

This is a big moment for Jeter and the Yankees.  You have to assume that Derek will work as hard as possible to get out there on Opening Day.  That's the precedent he has set for years and will put forward again right now.  Jeter knows what it means to be a New York Yankee. This is a guy that will hide an injury to play. Not because he's a selfish player, but because he knows his talent can help the club win.  He also knows the fans, Yankee brass and the world expects it.  It's values like that... combined with dedication, determination and pure blood and guts that make up Derek Jeter's entire career.  There is no one better. That's the damn truth.
Thinking about the lack of energy when it comes to Yankee brass and this off-season gets many of us down, but reading about Jeter yesterday really made me forget about all of it, because at the end of the day, guys who have only heard about Derek but never played with him will see something special if he's leading the charge.  Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, God willing, will all be there ready to go.  They are no spring chickens, that's for sure, but they are leaders that have been doing this since the beginning, as a team... as New York Yankees. They GET the Yankee way of doing things.  Throw in  Jorge Posada as a special instructor and we really have something going.  The Core Four will be back! Sure, only for a little while, but with them comes a different feeling if you're playing as their teammate... it's pride, it's confidence, it's the ability to try harder.  In the end, if these new players see Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera coming back from serious leg injuries like they did and they take the field ready to go... let's just say, no one will want to be left behind!  I no longer see no-name players anymore... now I see the light.  We CAN do this.

The Yankees breed champions.  We've heard it a thousand times, but something happens when you put on the pinstripes.  Don't believe me? Ask no-name Scott Brosius about that.  He was probably the worst Yankee pickup on paper. Yet, he became a huge part of that Yankees run in the late 1990's even winning the MVP in the 1998 Word Series.  Something happens when you put on the pinstripes.  Ask Charlie Hayes about that... how about Shane Spencer... or Hiroki Kuroda.

(In Photo: Russ Canzler)
My point is, who cares that Russ Canzler is joining us this season?  The pinstripes make players shine and with Jeter leading the charge, it is my estimation that new Yankee stars can be born in 2013.

Sure, on paper, we look like an OK club, and if we hit a good losing streak, Yankee brass will get hell, and they know it, but what if we don't? What if we win?  What if we win, not because we're lucky, but because no-name talent believe in themselves enough to scratch out an extra run or 2?  What if these guys we've been sarcastically ripping on actually start to believe they CAN do it all because an iconic legend, Derek Jeter says they should?  And I don't verbally, I mean physically.

When Jeter takes the field after an injury like that, wearing the pinstripes and holding the brim of his hat with a smile on his face, you can't sit there and tell me a player is going to think they CAN'T.  No.  They think they WILL.  Why? Because we have the greatest Captain that has ever graced Yankee Stadium and not only that... he's the best damn Captain in baseball.  We are damn lucky as fans and they are damn lucky as his teammates.  And hey, at the end of the day, the Yankees will do well, as long as our captain stands tall. Trust me on this, with Jeter there... there ain't nothing that can get in our way. I believe that.

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