Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"2gens Jeter... a millenial view" by CBoh


     Derek Jeter announced that he is retiring at the end of this upcoming season. He is the captain and the last man standing of those dominant Yankee teams of the 1990’s and early 00’s.  As a Mets fan, every bone in my body is programmed to hate everything Yankees. Their holier-than-you attitude, their no facial hair rule, their spoiled fan base and championship or bust mentality. They consistently field very hateable teams, for obnoxious payrolls, to get cheered on by fair weather fans. However, through all that hate, Derek Jeter managed to come out clean. Pretty much the closest thing to a universally respected athlete -- maybe not liked, but respected by all fan bases. He played the game the right way on the field and kept his life incredibly private off the field, no easy feat when you are young, rich, and famous in Manhattan. 
     On the field, he was one of the most clutch players to ever play the game.  The one play that sticks out to me when thinking of Derek Jeter was against the Oakland A’s in during game 3 of the 2001 ALDS.  I forget the exact specifics of the game but will never forget what happened. The right fielder misses his cut off man and Jeter comes out of nowhere from across the field to scoop up the ball along the first base line and blindly throw out Jeremy Giambi at home to save the game and the series.  Even as a Yankee hater, 10 year old me could not have been more impressed.  That was the play every Little Leaguer dreamed of making and practiced in their backyard over and over. Going above and beyond his duties on the field to make a game saving play in a crucial situation -- plays like that made Derek Jeter a very special player and deserving to be called Captain. 
     Off the field Jeter never opened his mouth and give anyone a reason not to like him. He has lived his life the way every person who was thrown into money and fame would dream of living it.  He parties with models but never puts himself in compromising situations. He is respectful and smart with the media. He never talks about himself as a brand like so many athletes do today.  He is a tough guy to not respect both on and off the field. 
     Matt Harvey keeps saying he wants to be the next Derek Jeter in the way he handles the New York media, but in his young career has not handled himself in the Jeter mold, making some questionable decisions with both the marketing of himself and the handling of the media. I dream of Matt Harvey becoming a dominant New York Met for the next decade and to only hear stories of his dominance on the field as we did with Jeter. 
     Jeter announcing his retirement a year early is the first thing he has ever done that I have disliked.  I was sick of the Mariano Rivera retirement saga about two seconds into it, and having to relive another Yankee farewell tour is going to make this baseball season even more miserable. However, if one player deserves a year long celebration of himself, I would concede that Jeter is that man.