Saturday, March 7, 2015
COMPARING DIDI TO JETER IS UNFAIR
For the last two decades, us Yankees fans have had the pleasure of having one of the better all-around baseball people of our generation playing shortstop in the Bronx. But here’s the kicker; all things must come to an end and Derek Jeter is now the retired Captain of the New York Yankees. Along comes Didi Gregorius, the Yankees presumed starting shortstop of 2015 and beyond. He is not and never will be Derek Jeter. He is Sir Didi Gregorius. Yes, he was knighted after The Netherlands beat Cuba in the 2011 World Baseball Classic.
So here is the thing that some fans and many sports writers are struggling with; No one, including Gregorius, will ever be Derek Jeter. Jeter was a one of a kind player who played on the biggest stage in sports. He was a damn near perfect example of a baseball player. That’s not saying he had no flaws, but he played the game with heart and intensity and he respected teammates, opponents and umpires alike. He was a model of professionalism on and off the field and a very nice guy. I once met him at a golf course in the Caribbean and he was a very friendly, seemingly humble individual.
For Didi to be compared to Jeter is unfair. If people are expecting him to be the next Jeet, they will surely be disappointed. Not because he doesn’t possess the tools to be a solid baseball player and hold his own as the next Yankees shortstop, but because he is just not Derek, bottom line. He is his own person with his own tools and personality. His skill set differs from what Jeter offered. The way he became a Yankee differs. He was not a first round pick of the Yankees who was expected to become a star and achieved true stardom while leading the Bombers to five World Series Championships. And you know what? That's OK. Let Didi play HIS game... Please!
True, some fans were upset with the Yankees giving up RHP Shane Green for Didi, who performed admirably in 2014 in his first action in the big leagues. It is impossible to please all New York fans all of the time. We are a group of die hard, opinionated fans who don’t shy away from voicing our opinions. That’s respectable, I get it.
But let’s all take a deep breath here and realize we have a new, solid shortstop, one that we should welcome with open arms. One that will play hard while in pinstripes. Didi is the new shortstop who is a completely different player and individual than the former Captain of the Yankees. Go do your thing Sir Didi, and make your own identity as the new Yankees shortstop know.
I, for one, will be rooting you on.
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