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Friday, May 17, 2013

THE DEREK JETER STORY THAT WILL TICK YOU OFF

“Look at me! I want to be provocative so I’ll write a Jeter hit piece and hopefully get some clicks!”  That is a quote from how I perceived a May 10th, CBS Sports piece by Jason Keidel asking if Derek Jeter should retire?  Here I am, not wanting to tell you guys about it, because to be honest, I found it insulting.  After all, this is Captain we're talking about and Keidel clearly wants dummies like me to talk about it. Sure, here I am, stupid me, chomping at the bit… so here it goes…


Should Derek Jeter retire? That’s the question based on a hairline fracture in Jeter’s ankle that has kept him sidelined since last October.  Should Derek Jeter retire? I guess Keidel forgot about Jeter’s rejuvenation last season. You know, the one that happened after sports writers wrote off the Captain after his 2010, .270 season. That season was the beginning of the end... Remember that? Last year he batted .316. Just sayin’. Bleeding Yankee Blue was all over that "slump" back in 2010 because it was clear to us that the sports writers had no real grasp on the career of Derek Jeter, and Jason Keidel clearly doesn’t have a grasp on what the Captain can still achieve in his Yankee career.

Should Derek Jeter retire? Well… sure...one day.  Over time, everyone who is a working man should retire when the time is right, but Derek Jeter isn’t close to retiring, because, quite frankly, he’s not done.

He wasn’t done when he messed up his shoulder against the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2003, he wasn’t done when he smashed his face into the seats on a diving catch against the Boston Red Sox. He wasn’t done when he was nursing his injury before he hit 3000 hits and he’s not done now.  Why? Because it’s Derek Jeter silly.

Keidel starts his piece off writing “Stars are inherently and vehemently vain. Much of their motor is fueled by the conviction that they are better than everyone else.”

Right. How are you successful? You push hard to get to the top and knock over everything in your way.  I’m not learning anything yet, are you?  He goes on continuing to dazzle me with obvious points, “Derek Jeter is older, slower, and injured. And there will be a day when he can’t play anymore. Will it be this year or next?” The answer to that question is, we don’t know yet. What the hell are we doing here?

He finally makes his point:  “’Jeter’s not a quitter!’ you bark.

Retiring after 17 resplendent seasons isn’t quitting. It’s logical. Find one shortstop in the modern era who produced at 39. Cal Ripken switched to third base at 35. Ernie Banks switched positions at 30. Even Ozzie Smith, better in the field than all three combined, was a part-time player at 39. Jeter will be 39 the next time he swings at a live pitch.”


OK, but Keidel forgets one thing.  Derek Jeter won’t go out like that.  I mean sure, father time is kicking Jeter’s ass, but Jeter puts father time in a headlock once in a while.  When he was struggling with his swing, he figured it out on his own.  Ask he goes older, he compensates, and will continue to go on until he can’t.  Jeter isn’t a quitter and that’s something we’ve learned for years.  While it’s “logical” that Jeter will retire soon, he will at least make his every effort to get back, because as Keidel writes, athletes are “vain” and Jeter is no different.  When you do something as long as Jeter has, it ain't easy to walk away.  There is one important part of this.  While players come and go and all retire, Jeter is the Captain. Jeter sets the tone and Jeter is the example.  He’ll tell us when he’s ready and when he is, it will be a sad day in Yankeeland, but Yankee fans are smart, we don’t want to see broken down players and we get it.  But never count out Jeter… ever. It’s not in his DNA, it never was.  A busted ankle, while not easy to heal, DOES in fact heal.  Will he be the same? At 39, who knows, but he’s not going to determine his future until he sees if he still “Can.”

Keidel finally writes: “The question is only offensive because you love Derek Jeter. If you’re under 30, he is all you’ve known, the dynastic emblem of your youth. But just as kids once wondered who would replace Ruth found Gehrig, and then DiMaggio, and then Mantle. I was reared on Reggie Jackson and then Don Mattingly.” All true but logical thinking also doesn’t have us shipping off Jeter to an old age home.  If you only grew up with Jeter, it will be hard, but I grew up with Guidry and Reggie and Mattingly and Winfield and let me tell you something, times change, we know that, but there has never been anyone quite like Jeter when it comes to that leadership role.

Yes Mattingly fans, Donnie is right there, and he played through a bad back, but there is something unique about this Captain.

All I’m saying is yes, being 39 with a healing ankle for anyone else… Yes, it logical that retirement is very, very near.  For Jeter who’s 39 with a healing ankle, it’s logical to think that he’ll come back stronger because he’s always proved father time wrong… sure, we will have to see, but I have a gut feeling about this…do you?

Shout out to Jason Keidel, well done piece, you got me thinking... I like that.

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