Thursday, September 25, 2014


I’m sorry. I know the Jeter retirement has been beat to death and you’re all sick of it.

I’m going to miss seeing Derek Jeter on the Yankees. He took over as the full-time SS for the Yanks when I was 12 years old. I just turned 31. So from the time I was nearly a teenager, through high school, college, early adulthood; through my wedding, the birth of my son, the birth of my daughter…through all these things, I’d turn on the Yankees every night, and Jeter would be in the lineup. On Sept 22, 1996, I went to my first Yankees game. Jeter, batting 9th, went 2 for 3 in the win, raising his season average to .320. He was just a rookie. In many ways, so was I.

It’s weird. Jeter on the Yankees is really all I’ve known. He’s been an incredible player. He wasn’t the best at any one thing, but he was very good at very many things. And there’s something to be said for that. I'm realistic. I know his range, especially the the latter half of his career, wasn't good. He struck out a lot. He grounded into a lot of double plays. But guess what? He was still damn good, and better than most. I'll take the average to above average defense if it meant 200 hits over the guy who plays spectacular D but hits like a pitcher. I guess it's the American League in me.

He knew how to carry himself on and off the field, and knew how to turn it up when the calendar flipped from September to October (and November). I never worried about him in October. I worried about everyone else.

He's never embarrassed himself or my favorite team. That's important. In a day and age when stars find it harder and harder to stay out of trouble...DUIs, domestic violence, substance abuse, tax fraud, sexting...the guys who have stayed at the top of their game while avoiding these types of issues is getting smaller and smaller. As a father, I cringe at the day that I have to explain something to my son that one of his heroes was arrested the night before, or that he has just received a 50-game suspension for steroids. No fathers had to explain that to their sons about Jeter.

It's funny how TV talking heads and Twitter no ones and critical fans have slammed Jeter the past few days. He has earned endless respect from peers across the league. Countless shortstops wear #2 today because they looked up to him. Justin Verlander just Tweeted "Re2pect." Yet, people with no baseball backgrounds other than "I played growing up" and "I watch it every night" have used it as a forum to be a hater. That's fine; have your opinion. I'll side with the guys between the lines. Just my opinion, like you have yours.

Honestly, it's been hard watching him the last two years. In 2012, he led the AL in hits at age 38. That's hard to sustain. He's hung on a little too long now, and that's part of the problem. Our stars aren't allowed to get old and go our gracefully. They get attacked for being selfish or hurting the team.

I don’t expect another Derek Jeter, but I do hope another Yankee hero comes along eventually. And soon. Every generation has had (at least) one such hero. I want my kids to have their own Derek Jeter, whoever that might be.


  1. Derek Jeter, so great that people will fail to realize that whoever the Yankees bring in next year to man SS will be an upgrade (stat-wise anyway).