El Capitan is back! How appropriate that he return on the 4th of July. The All-American Guy. Sweet Jeet has represented all that is good in baseball, for that matter all that is good in sports for more than a decade.
Granted I am biased as I sport my Derek Jeter bobble head on my desk at work, a picture of him signing a baseball hangs on my bulletin board and a comic from the Daily News taped to my door declaring that we should live life every day to its fullest just like Derek Jeter plays baseball. As a die hard fan, as many are we like this guy for a lot of reasons; he is a stand up guy, is loyal to a city and fans, plays fair and is a role model for the young and the young at heart.
I recall a 60 minute segment about Jeter several years ago, where he discussed his family life, his biracial upbringing, and most memorable, a contract his father asked him to sign at a young age, asking him amongst other things to contract not to use drugs, alcohol, to work hard, to do well in school and to be kind to women. While others are juiced or have to deny they used, looking for an advantage, Derek Jeter plays a clean game with child like enthusiasm. If you have ever watched him play, you quickly appreciate that he loves the game. His vibrant way and relentless play are classic. He is a likable guy…A mischievous smile and with a twinkle in his eye, frequently being caught by the cameras laughing on the field or talking to the opposing player hovering second, his excitement for the game is palpable. It seems like he is in on an ongoing joke that we as fans are not privy too. While some say he is the most overrated player in baseball, you must look at his career as a whole, his batting average, number of hits, accomplishments (MVP of year and world series) not to mention his heroic plays over the years. And most notably he has done it with class. He has been dependable. He is always there…whether he is diving in the stands to catch a fly and blooding his face while doing so, or coming out of nowhere to help throw out a guy a home (aka..2001 Division series against Oakland flip to Jorge to tag out Giambi)…he has been involved in some of the most memorable plays in the post season. Where does he come from.…Mr. Clutch…He knows where here needs to be. His dedication toNew Yorkand his team mates speaks to this.
With Jeter on the DL, it is no secret that the Yankees have been on a winning tear. His replacements in the line up, Gardner, Nunez have been admirably stepping up. Of course, the latest debate by the pundits and fans alike is a logical one.. now that he is back, should Jeter resume the lead off spot? Should he be inserted back in the line up, full speed like nothing ever happened? Should Girardi upset the rhythm…mess with the karma?
While several of my recent postings have included references to the aging athlete, Jeter unfortunately most would say is creeping into this category. He still comes to play ever day and should rebound from this injury. He still has a lot of life left in him. He is time tested like penicillin, granted he might be a little slower ( we all are), perhaps a few more over throws to first that the young Jeter would not have thrown, he is still money and we would much rather he be on the field then not be out there. While he will protest that he is not thinking about his closing in on 3000 hits, he must be waiting with great anticipation. A record that very few will achieve and to do it without aid of performance enhancing drugs or controversy surrounding his performance is to be acknowledge and appreciated. He is back and 3000 will be reached, no doubt….it is a given, certain to happen just like the sun coming up. His return is welcomed. Just knowing he is back on field, we can breathe a sigh of relief because we know that all is all right in baseball.