Can Baseball Move On Without Derek Jeter?
You’ve no doubt watched television today. You’ve glanced at the bottom line on Sportscenter “BREAKING NEWS” flashing several times across the screen. You checked your Twitter, and you know it’s trending. On your Facebook, some of your friends are practically weeping, reminiscing of happy memories.
I haven’t said the words “Baseball,” “Yankees,” or “shortstop,” but you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Something that those of us between the ages of 10-45 never thought of as a reality.
Derek Jeter will not play forever.
Reported today, the Yankee captain will retire after the 2014 season. This one quote from Jeter says all you need to know. He has nothing left to give.
“The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward. I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”
He’s been a refreshing contribution to the game of baseball for the last 19 years. Possible the face of baseball over the last generation, Jeter didn’t just play baseball, he owned it. After winning the American League Rookie of the Year award 1996, he’s made 13 all-star teams (and will almost certainly make one in 2014), produced 3,316 hits–good for 10th all-time (with a good shot at finishing 6th), and won five gold gloves.
In the postseason, when the lights were the brightest, he was even better. He’s the all-time postseason leader in games played, at-bats, hits, runs scored, doubles, and triples, and third in home runs and RBI. The 5x World Series champion was a big part of 16 postseason teams, seven pennant winners, and batted .321 in October and November.
There’s no doubt he’ll be missed dearly by Yankees’ fans. I can’t put it into words what he meant to that fanbase (because I’m not part of it), so I’ll let a friend of mine do it.
In fact, it was that same friend that went up to Jeter in a Starbucks in Tampa, FL two years ago and asked him how come he hadn’t signed a longer extension with the organization.
Jeter replied, leaving my friend dumbfounder: “Because I might be done after 2014.”
I guess he knew for a while.
I received this text message as part of a group text after the news broke:
“Alright boys this is farewell.Thank you for being great friends the past few years. You really mean a lot to me. I’ve decided to move on into heaven. I can’t see my life improving without the best shortstop of all-time wearing pinstripes anymore. I love you all….”
A little dramatic, but you get the picture. It’s going to take some time, but he’ll move on, all Yankees fans will.
The question now is:
Can baseball move on without Derek Jeter?
Other than Cal Ripken Jr., I’m not sure that question has even been raised over the last 20 years, but it certainly applies, and the only answer I can come up with now is that isn’t not bout if baseball can move on, it’s that they have to.
Follow OPSN Lead Writer Shawn Ferris on Twitter @RealShawnFerris for more MLB news and updates.