Thursday, July 17, 2014



That hashtag above has a much bigger meaning than switching the “S” for Derek Jeter’s number 2. Yes, when you think about respect, you think immediately about Derek Jeter because Jeter respected the game, the fans, the Yankees organization and the players that played against him. And ultimately, on a night like the All-Star game the other night, we all let him know we respected him back. Millions of us, the stadium and us at home on our couches with our kids stood in applause. It was a tremendous event.  Dare I say, the Jeter Farewell tour officially kicked off in Minnesota. Why do I say that? Because Derek Jeter finally gave in. 

Derek Jeter didn’t want a farewell tour, or, at least that’s what he told us.  I mean, he knew it would happen and told us all not to call it a “Farewell Tour.  We, the fans who have seen this man take the field for years understand Jeter and how he never wants it to be about himself. And so, even though it’s been the unspoken farewell tour, we Yankee fans have been doing our best to give it to him, while trying to respect his wishes too… it’s confusing.

But in Minnesota the other night, it was “game on”, as they say.  Jeter was forced to let it happen, and dare I say, I think he enjoyed it. The guy who is all about team loosened up a bit and our Captain stood among peers who idolize him and fans who love him.  But that wasn’t the best part... this is;  As he approached the plate, someone in the crowd, someone trying to be funny, or maybe he believed it, yelled “OVERRATED.”  It was picked up by the mics and I cringed when I heard it. But being Jeter and all the magic that comes with him, that negative word was followed by a Jeter double off Adam Wainwright, the way he does it best... Never with the mouth, always with his play.  I’m curious what happened to that loser after that?  Actually, I'm not. That dude clearly ate crow.

Opposing fans have hated Derek Jeter because he's good.  There was something Jeet did to each club he faced in his long career that made an opposing fan say, “Damn, that Jeter!” Maybe it was a catch, or a hit or a dive.  He was in the right place at the right time to tag out Jeremy Giambi and some A’s fans still can’t get over it.   

His hitting has been timely for years.  I remember when he was anointed "Mr. November", at a time when New York needed a boost after 9/11.  Jeter was a symbol of hope as he rounded the bases with his fist held high. 

I get chills thinking about it.  Bottom line, Jeter went big for years and everything he touched turned to gold. #RE2PECT.  Now are you getting it?

Respect the game, it respects you.  That’s the way Jeter played. 5 championships, 13 times to the All-Star game. MVPs. Rookie of the Year... it didn’t end for him.  He’s a throwback. Passionate about his craft and that’s because he was raised right.

You can tell me that players play the game on their own.  But I’m here to tell you that it starts with family. I’ve said it for years and you will never change my mind. (Read WHY JETER IS EPIC FOR 1 GOOD REASON.)  Jeter didn’t grow up knowing how to respect baseball.  He learned respect from his parents, and I applaud them for that.  You raised your kids right Dr. & Mrs. Jeter!  And it’s paid forward.  Parents see what you did, and we do it too.  That's how role models are made! I try and teach my kids right from wrong, but ultimately, life and baseball is about respect.  That’s why the hashtag #RE2PECT is so powerful. It’s Jeter and the way he carries himself, but it’s about life lessons too.

Sure, you can call Jeter "overrated" all you want, but don’t tell my kid that.  Don’t tell the millions who know Jeter is a great player that, because we ain’t listening.  Look at this list... Baseball Almanac has it:

1996 Rookie of the Year Award
1996 Sporting News Rookie Player of the Year Award
1998 Player of the Month Award
2000 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award
2000 The Babe Ruth Award (World Series MVP)
2000 World Series Most Valuable Player Award
2004 Gold Glove Award, Shortstops
2004 Player of the Week Award
2005 Gold Glove Award, Shortstops
2006 Baseball Digest Player of the Year Award
2006 Gold Glove Award, Shortstops
2006 Hank Aaron Award
2006 Hitter of the Year Award
2006 Silver Slugger Award, American League
2007 Silver Slugger Award, American League
2008 Silver Slugger Award, American League
2009 Gold Glove Award, Shortstops
2009 Hank Aaron Award
2009 Roberto Clemente Award
2009 Silver Slugger Award, American League
2009 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award
2010 Gold Glove Award, Shortstops
2010 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
2010 Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award
2012 Silver Slugger Award, American League

Not to mention... 9th on the All-Time hits list (3408), 1st of all New York Yankees Hits list, 5th on the All-Time Singles list (2550), 6th on the All-Time Yankees RBI list (1286), 1st on the Yankees list for doubles (534).  Plus 5 World Championships with the New York Yankees... probably the only award our mighty captain really cares about!  Right... but he's overrated.

To the haters; Instead of disrespecting others… how about you respect yourself!  Wake up. Get off the couch. Stop being jealous and closed off. Open your eyes. There’s a great world out there. There’s progress to be made. There are goals to achieve!  You can sit there and call people "overrated" all you want, but I know you don’t believe it.  See, what haters don’t understand is if they actually DID something great for themselves, they’d never hate as much as they do.  Respect makes the world go ‘round, and that’s what Jeter is all about.  He’s the inspiration, now you... go learn about it!

Look, it doesn’t matter if you like baseball or hate it.  Just watch Derek Jeter carry himself.  He lives in a fish bowl, yet he still manages to get around and stay grounded. He’s pleasant, courteous, complimentary, but he’s also a warrior, a champion, a role model. He’s also our captain, now and forever.

So, the message is clear… Respect the game. Respect each other. Respect Derek Jeter. He’s done it the right way for years… there is no better role model, for kids AND adults.  You can’t beat it.

Hey Derek… #RE2PECT!

You did it right, kid. We're damn proud of you. Thank you.

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