On Wednesday, it was announced that Derek Jeter would return to the disabled list and not return for the rest of the season. The captain of the New York Yankees played in only 17 games this season with the major culprit being the ankle injury he suffered in last season’s American League Championship Series. The same ankle has now shut him down for good at least as far as 2013 season goes. However, in listening to his press conference on Wednesday we were reminded just why Derek Jeter is great.
As I was driving home from work, his voice had my complete attention. He jabbed at reporters who wanted to know if he was retiring. He is a ballplayer and his job is to go out there every day and play. He doesn’t think about retiring or looking ahead, his focus is on that day’s game and the current season. I can’t quote every single thing he said so perhaps the link found here can help you out. The bottom line is that I believed every word he said. When he says he will work out to be ready for 2014, I believe he will work out like a mad man and come back and hit .310 with 185 hits and 90 runs scored. At 40 years old and a year away from the game, that sounds like wishful thinking. I won’t be the one to doubt him. You would be foolish to think it can’t happen; you don’t think Jeter will be fueled by all of the naysayers who insist he hang it up?
Those doubters have plenty of company when it comes to knocking Jeter. You know, the ones who say he is the most overpaid player in the game. Or the ones who state that using XYZ metric, he is the worst defensive shortstop in baseball. Let us settle this once and for all. Derek Jeter is an all-time great. Yes, I said it. He is 9th on the all time hits list. Go ahead, tell me that is not a big deal. There have been thousands of men who have played Major League Baseball and only eight players have more hits. As far as his defense goes, maybe he is not flashy enough for some but he makes every single play. Tell me, when is the last time you saw him make a bad throw? Never? Does he not go into the hole on a backhand and throw the runner out at first every single time? It amazes that a guy who is so great, who every dad could tell his child, “play the game like him” who at times can be so maligned.
The greatness of Derek Jeter goes beyond the baseball field. It is his class, his ability to thrive under the most glaring of spotlights without losing his dignity and his coolness ion dealing with the harshest of critics that make him so great. Doubt him if you must but I feel that Derek Jeter will have a monster 2014.
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I also cover the Arizona Diamondbacks at venomstrikes.com