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Thursday, June 13, 2013

THAT JETER SPIRIT & APPEAL RAGES ON

When it comes to baseball, I often think about Derek Jeter.  I think about the way he carries himself on and off the field.  He's a role model to my children, to your children. He plays not because it's his job, but because he loves the game. I think about the way he understands what it means to be a New York Yankee and the understanding he has, knowing he's to be better than the average baseball player. Why you ask? Well, the answer is simple; he wears the pinstripes... he must be the best.  For me, and many like me, we get that, we're Yankee fans. That's the appeal of Derek Jeter and that's why Yankee fans have fallen in love with this iconic figure.

There has never been a Captain quite like Derek. I'm putting that out there, quote me. Yes, Mattingly is still loved ladies and gentlemen, but think about it for a moment.  As I sit here reviewing this 2013 season and how this is the first time in years we don't have Jeter on Opening day, or May or even now in June, it's very strange, yet, ironically the Yankees have powered on just like Jeter would have if he was on  the field.  Be it his presence in the dugout or in the spirit of how he carries himself as a Yankee, one thing is crystal clear to me,  the appeal and spirit of Jeter is so pronounced... so distinct...  it rubs off. Veterans love him, prospects want to be him...fans want to meet him.

Derek Sanderson Jeter  is loved by all and dare I say, even if you live in Boston, there is something rewarding about watching our Captain do his thing.  While he may not wear red and have a big "B" on his cap, he still represents an image of dedication and loyalty for the game, and has a fairness and freshness that I believe a baseball player should have.  He plays hard, but still delivers great class and sportsmanship and if you ask some, they'd throw in that he's pretty darn good looking too. Damn, it must be hard to be so perfect, but Jeet pulls it off!  But again, there's that appeal thing... there's that spirit that really sucks us all in.

We've read and have seen plenty of highlights when it comes to Babe Ruth being some sort of superhero. Later, it may have been Mickey Mantle, a player larger than life on the field, always pushing himself harder than he did the day before.  Then there was Thurman Munson, then Don Mattingly and then a kid named Derek Jeter came along. These are all great Yankees. They all did great things, but when Jeter came along, he not only fell in line with what the Yankees had represented for years, but there was something more;  That smile, that "role model" stature, that courtesy and respect he has for the game of ball.  Jeter, is something bigger in some regards... and I say that for a simple reason...


When you walk into Yankee Stadium in 2013, you will never be disappointed by what Yankee fans have done.  You can look out and realize that you are surrounded by a sea of navy blue and pinstripes... all wearing #2.   It's the first number to get picked in Little League and it's the number that was almost destined to be Jeter's in an already crowded Monument park filled with retired "low" digits. It was fate, and yes, it's good to be loved, but the best part is, Jeter feels the love and he knows how important it is to return it, because he has respect for the fans, his team and the pinstripes.

It's no mistake that when the Yankees moved across the street to the new Yankee stadium, "The House that Ruth Built" became the "House that Jeter Built."   It became a new chapter in Yankee history and anyone who knows anything about baseball, knows that means something pretty damn special.  We've seen history happen constantly since we watched Jeter begin his career. We've watched him win the Rookie of the Year award, MVPs, World Championships and he's made plays that you never knew could happen... they happened with Jeter. Yet, all the while, fame never got to him. It appears the Captain has the same positive attitude he's had since day one. That's class, loyalty, and understanding what it means to be the biggest role model a fan could ever have.

Despite the absence of Jeet so far in 2013, it's clear the man knows how important it is that he keep it up. If he's not on the field, he's there, talking with his teammates, mentoring, guiding them...he's a leader, a captain.  As we move forward together as fans, we should cherish every at bat right now. We should cherish every moment and every hat tip from the big man, because he's given us so much, not because he has to, but because he wants to.  Jeter's crossed over to become the most iconic Yankee this fan base has ever seen.  There is no doubt, Jeter's spirit and appeal rages on... and it will continue to for years and years to come....we're very lucky to have witnessed it.  That's our Captain... #2... the shortstop... Derek Jeter.

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