As you probably read the other day, I suggested that Derek Jeter be moved from the leadoff spot. He promptly responded with a 4-4 day at the plate. I’m just gonna go ahead and assume that he read my article, took it personally, and raked. If he hits well for the rest of the season, I’m taking full credit. You’re welcome, Derek.
Still, I want to clear some things up. I am not trying to trash Derek Jeter or say that he is toast, like mid-April Ortiz. Derek Jeter is one of the best offensive shortstops in the history of the game and no matter how far I have to go, no matter how I have to get there, I will be there when Derek Jeter gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. I was nine years old for most of the 1996 season when Derek burst onto the scene and helped the Yankees to the World Series on the strength of a Rookie of the Year season. Truth be told, Derek Jeter is one of the reasons I got into the Yankees and if I wanted to make a “Thank you” list for helping me get to where I am in my baseball life, he’d be near the top. I’m not trying to say that Jeter is done and that there is no chance he comes back; if it came off that way, then it was unintended. Here is what I did mean to get across.
Derek Jeter should be thought of like prospects: no one is untouchable for the right price. No matter what he’s done in the past, and no matter how much he’s meant to the Yankees, he should not be immune to criticism. The Yankees and Jeter are made for each other; that is, Jeter and the Yankees have benefited from their “partnership” equally.
In closing, Derek Jeter is most definitely not done. He’s got the talent and skill to rebound from this cold snap and end the year on a hot streak. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t accept that Jeter may well be entering his decline phase. This happens to every player, no matter how great, no matter how beloved he is. Perhaps it’s hard to accept this because of how well Jeter’s three most famous teammates have aged. Andy Pettitte has put up great years despite advanced age; Jorge Posada is making a late Hall of Fame case; Mariano Rivera is, well, Mariano Rivera. Like Jeter, though, they’ll all age at one point. And while it will be sad, we should not be angry with them. They can’t help it; it’s just part of the baseball circle of life. What we can do, though, is remember how great they were and replay the wonderful memories they’ve all given us over the year. Those will never age.
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