Baseball is finally here, and all is right with the world. Of all the headlines for the upcoming season, none are bigger than Derek Jeter retiring.
He was the kid that became The Captain. He was a winner from day one winning a World Series in his rookie season and earning a ring four more times after that. He was part of the “Core Four” when the Yankees actually had a farm system and developed players.
“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” Paul Simon sings those lyrics in the classic song “Mrs. Robinson”. Simon is referring to the fact that our heroes had changed. We rarely had gentlemen like the Yankee Clipper to look up to anymore. Remember, this was before we knew that DiMaggio had trash bags of cash in his house and wouldn’t let someone buy him a drink for fear that that person would actually think that meant he could talk to Joltin’ Joe.
But doesn’t seem like someone could redo that song in 10 years and insert Jeter’s name instead?
If you talk to anyone that has been in baseball during the Jeter era and ever had any dealings with him they all use the same adjectives: Professional; leader; gentleman.
There are always young stars in baseball, but which one of them can become the face of the League like Jeter? Bryce Harper is good, but a little too brash at times. Yasiel Puig barely jogs to first base. Mike Trout is probably the best among them, and seems to be a good guy, but the Angels don’t appear to be winning the division let alone a World Series.
Think about it. In a time where someone not being on PEDs is out of the norm, even the harshest cynic doesn’t think Jeter ever did anything.
Even Red Sox fans don’t hate him. Maybe not all of them love or even like him, but they all don’t hate him.
When athletes are sitting in jail on murder charges, or never getting another contract because they brought guns in the locker room, or coming out of the closet; Jeter never got so much as a speeding ticket that we know of.
You could make a starting lineup of all the women he dated that could rival any celebrity of all time. In fact, this may be the only blemish on Jeter’s reputation is that maybe a girl or two received an extra gift basket in the limo the next day. But hey, who among us hasn’t doubled up on a gift basket a time or two? No one? Ok.
So in 2014 we say a fond farewell to the Captain. He’s the last of the “Core Four” and the last real Yankee from the latest Yankee Dynasty. At least we know he’s retiring after this year so each team can pay tribute and get him a gift a la Mariano Rivera.
Baseball is in good hands with monster TV deals, good young players and rising attendance. Still, there will probably never be another one like him possible causing to ask, “Where have you gone Derek Jeter?”
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