I am a New Yorker and it seemed like everyone around me was a Yankee fan. It bothered me the way everyone worshipped Derek Jeter. I grew up as a Mets fan and I wanted the Yankees to lose every single game they played.
Now Jeter, the face of the franchise, the shortstop, the captain, is retiring after a 20 year career, all of it in pinstripes. Nobody can argue that Derek Jeter has earned a first ballot Hall of Fame nomination being a 14 time all-star, all-time leader in hits for the greatest sports franchise in history and a five time World Series Champion. Even if you just go based on numbers, I have to admit Jeter is well deserving of unanimous respect.
Almost everybody knows that Jeter has unofficially coined the jump throw and the “flip.” When Jeter inexplicably put himself in the right position to flip the ball to catcher Jorge Posada, after a poor throw to home plate to record a critical out in the 2001 playoffs. Then his catch into the stands sacrificing his body in the 12th inning leaving his face cut and bruised against the Red Sox, we had to recognize that this was no ordinary baseball player. The effort and intensity he played with on the field are traits for which Derek will always be remembered.
One thing that may be overshadowed by his baseball prowess is how Jeter carried himself off the field as well. Baseball today has been widely considered the “Steroid Era,” because of the overuse of steroids making most of the headlines and drowning people’s reputations. Players such as Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds just to name a few, had tainted careers. Whether you are a lover or hater of the Yankees and Jeter, you would have to acknowledge the way Jeter has been able to carry himself as a leader and role model.
Through all the drama in the sport because of performance enhancing drugs it was always a comfort to know that great players do not need the drugs and Derek Jeter has remained a bright spot in baseball. The list of all the women he has dated is not too shabby either which includes: Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey, and oh yeah, Miss Universe in 2000, Lara Dutta.
So even though I am a Yankee hater, and not a fan of Derek Jeter, I think almost every other individual can and should acknowledge all that Derek has brought to the game of baseball as a whole and give him the “Re2spect” he deserves. The name will be remembered as a legend in every way, and the number “2” in pinstripes will have a spot in history forever.