September 28th, 20014 will be a historical day for me. No – not because it’s my wedding anniversary. This has greater emotional meaning to my life. I can only say that without fear because I know my wife will never read this article. But it’s the truth. Derek Jeter > Wife
On September 28th I will close a very important “season” of my life. For on September 28th, 20014 will be the very last time I will ever watch Derek Jeter play professional baseball for the New York Yankees.
I started watching baseball the same time Jeter started playing. For me and thousands others my age, we don’t know what it’s like to be a baseball fan without Jeter. I don’t know what life is going to be like A.D. – Anno Derek. And like Derek said in his address to the fans before Sunday’s game – Not only have we watched him grow over the last 20 years, but he’s also watched us get older.
But what we are missing is – not only are we saying goodbye to Derek, we are also saying goodbye to an era of baseball excellence. We are saying goodbye to the George Steinbrener era. We are saying goodbye to Yankees Dynasty. We are saying goodbye to Bob Sheppard, the ominous announcer for the NY Yankees who passed away in 2010. Jeter had it placed in his contract to have a recording of Bob’s voice played everytime he goes to bat. He is the only Yankee with this clause. But on September 28th, 2014 we will hear Bob’s voice for the very last time.
“Now batting. Number 2. Derek Jeter.”
This is why Jeter’s retirement takes with it not just 20 years of Yankee memories – but a link to Yankees history. Bob was the voice of the Yankees, and Jeter is the last link we have to all the greats. DiMaggio. Mantle. Yogi. Munson. Ford Martin. George. Torre. Donny. Mo.
But that’s what made Jeter so great. His respect and appreciation for Yankees tradition. In an era of huge contracts and the “me” first mentality, Derek has been the epitome of class and team minded leadership. He has set an example for an entire generation of men on how to act, how to be gracious yet deserving, how to be cool yet hustle, how to strive for excellence in a time when mediocrity became the acceptable.
In an era tarnished by cheating, Jeter has remained the one spotless star. Sure, his numbers aren’t AMAZING, but he’s clean. Most importantly, he’s a winner.
Baseball without Jeter will leave millions in a limbo. Like what do we do next? It’s that awkward Sunday after the Superbowl where guys have to figure out what to do. But much more traumatic. This is like Captain America dying, but here, there is no replacement. People have said Mike Trout is the next Jeter, but he’s not. This is not like Bucky stepping in. There is no Bucky. No one can ever be The Fall Soldier.