Time for alittle Sunday Feature folks, straight from the pages of BYB.
I heard it with my own ears. My sister confessed to me while down the shore this week, why she stopped watching the Yankees and became a certified Met fan. She said, deep down, the Yankees just weren't the same without Derek Jeter. To translate, Jeter's retirement forced some fans to hop over to Queens and join the ranks of the Metropolitans.
I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. My own niece left the Yankees for the Mets just a short time ago. It down right hurts to see fans leave for what they see as something better. But in reality, although Derek Jeter spent two decades with us, he should not be the reason you stop liking the Yankees.
To stay in the Citi Field dugout for a moment, David Wright, arguably one of the beloved modern day Met players, said this about Jeter just after he announced he would retire, "I've always been a big Derek Jeter fan for what he has done on the baseball field. I became an even bigger fan after getting to know Derek and learning there is more to this game than what goes on between the lines."
Jeter has given so much to this game but if you are a Yankee fan, you are a Yankee fan. You don't stop being a Yankee fan or any fan for that matter because a player is traded, or decides move on with the rest of his life off the baseball diamond. You don't stop being a Yankee fan because they lose too much. You may get frustrated with the team, but you don't give up and become a Met fan. You just don't.
Perhaps, Matt Marrone, senior editor at ESPNNewYork.com, brings the ultimate perspective to the idea that fans may have moved on from the Yankees when Jeter retired.
"I was on hand for so many of his greatest moments, I was also sitting in the stands when he had to be carried off the field during the 2012 ALCS, when his ankle finally gave way following one of his most incredible seasons. Never have I heard such silence in the Bronx. Walking out that night had the aura of a funeral procession, the polar opposite of how Jeter has made Yankees fans feel for nearly 20 years. His absence reverberated like no other Big Apple ballplayer’s I've seen."
Does my sister have a point? I mean, is Yankee baseball somehow still missing that special something following Jeter's departure more than two years ago? Yes, of course. Undeniably, we know he was beloved, respected and a calming presence at short stop for twenty years. And that void is still there for many. But, guess what? As Yankee announcer Michael Kay said so eloquently as Jeter retired, " I literally have taken moments and thought to myself, "What would Derek Jeter do in this situation?" And tried to follow his course."
So what would Derek Jeter do? Become a Met fan? No way.
Stay with us. Don't give up on the Yankees. We will find that magic again. Just like when Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio retired, we grew more heroic players, like Don Mattingly, Mariano Rivera and yes, Derek Jeter. Jeter made the game more exciting and powerful to watch, but the game was exciting before he came and will continue to be, long after he is gone.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist