Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I have seen them all fall and get back up again.  Lieutenant Dan rebounded after losing his legs in the infamous flick Forrest Gump.  His pal Forrest called them “magic legs.”  Superman regained his powers and came back bigger and stronger than ever.  And Rocky Balboa got the final KO.  But folks, that’s all fiction, comic books and movies and creative story lines that give us hope and bolster our confidence in tougher times. 

The superheroes of the mid-1920s came into the limelight during the times of the Great Depression and the World Wars.  They were created to boost moral and keep our country from failing too far into despair.  So, if what I am about to say makes you sigh in disbelief, I apologize. 

I was there during the final game of the Yankee-Met series last Thursday night.  I saw him emerge from the dugout.  I saw his eyes and they gave “it” away.

Derek Jeter, our very own real life super hero, has fallen and he’s not coming back.  Perhaps, a new guy, the new Jeter, a more mature, more serious player who will be 39-years-old later this month will be back, but say goodbye to the man who played a passionate shortstop with quick hands and an equally quick throw.  He was our lead off man, our go to guy but he will play a new role now and it will not be as the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees.

Father Time is finally throwing Jeter some serious chin music, snapping his ankle in October, and then taunting him back to practice before chipping it again. But Jeter is the Bernard Hopkins of baseball, swinging until he’s literally carted off. The Yankees surely hope he makes that decision before they have to, “ stated the very colorful CBS Sports writer Jason Keidel, who claims that time has final beckoned our very own Derek Jeter HERE.  As I sit here and repeatedly visualize the image of Derek Jeter on the field the other evening, listening intently to Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild, I zoom into Jeter’s eyes.

And I saw “it.”  Derek Jeter.  No more talk of when he will come back, no more whispers of rehab and retiring, just Derek Jeter, the man, right there in front of me, white eyed and looking out ward as if he was studying for a test or setting a new course.  Derek Jeter might just be graduating; a sort of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’, from player to manager.  Last Thursday night, I saw what looked like Jeter being mentored, He had that inquisitive look of a student.  I should know, I work with hundreds and hundreds of students each year as a university administrator.  And eager students have those same curious, bright eyes- the eyes of a learner. 

And although I don’t agree with Keidel completely, particularly when he says, that “Jeter has pulled off the impossible exacta of evoking hero worship without sharing himself with the very people who worship him. If observed objectively, there is absolutely no intimacy between Jeter and his fans,” I do agree that Jeter is not a quitter and he is not leaving the game after 17-years.  No, Jeter, is moving into a different role and he knows it.  Jeter is a class act and if he can’t play, he won’t.  He will quietly step into a different role and that is exactly what his eyes were telling me as a fan, watching him play, night after night, day after day, year after year.  I saw his eyes and they are the windows of his soul.  So, no Jason Keidel, I don’t agree that Jeter is disconnected from his fans, it is just the opposite and I am not the only one, read more HERE

As I write this piece on the anniversary of the death of Lou “Iron Horse” Gehrig, I look down at my feet and see a shiny penny.  I am immediately reminded of what that penny means.  It means someone in heaven is thinking about you.  Now, I never met Lou Gehrig, never saw him play except in films and through the vividly written books and articles depicting his iconic game-play, but I can’t help but feel the irony of seeing Jeter and reflecting just a couple days later on the anniversary of Gehrig’s passing.

On Saturday, Jeter shook hands with a 111-year old man, an author of a book on how to stay healthy.  We now also hear that Jeter is playing catch HERE.  Why wouldn’t he?  Why wouldn’t he take batting practice too, when he is able?  Why can’t he scrimmage, when he is able?  He can and he probably will.  But unlike Mariano Rivera who pitches an inning or two three to four times a week at most, Jeter can’t play shortstop everyday.  Even Cal Ripken couldn’t at age 35 and “The Wizard of Oz” Ozzie Smith knew when to say when at the end of the 1996 season when he was 41.  The oldest playing shortstop was Omar Vizquel at 45 and he took over that record from Bobby Wallace who was 44 when he last played shortstop, read that HERE

It is what it is.  But don’t lose hope, fellow fans.  No, no.  Derek Jeter will still be a presence here in the Bronx.  He will still provide his wisdom and instill his confident spirit into our current players and us fans.  He just won’t do it between second and third base.  And I am okay with that because I know Derek Jeter won’t play if he can’t.  He does not have magic legs, he can’t fly and he does not have a team of Oscar Award winning writers on his payroll.  What I saw the other evening is Derek Jeter, a real guy who might just be ready to take on his next challenge. And that challenge might just be at the helm of the future New York Yankees.  BYB readers, what do you think?  What do you see in Jeter’s eyes?  Zoom in and take a good look!

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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