The All-Star Game was pretty boring but Derek Jeter made it worth watching. The Yankee captain is regal, reliable and steady. He’s very much like two Hall of Famers that I had the privilege of covering, Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. Like those two, Jeter played his entire career with one team, the New York Yankees. In this era of free agency and greed, you won’t see many of these one-team wonders anymore.
Jeter’s statistics are certainly impressive: five World Series Championships, 15 All-Star selections, five Gold Gloves, 3,000 hits and the Yankee’s all-time leader in many categories. But numbers don’t tell the whole story of Derek Jeter. He was the backbone, the heart-and-soul, the steadying influence on sometimes tumultuous times of Yankee teams. He wasn’t flashy but he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and had a knack for making big plays that won games, pennants and World Series.
The reception Jeter got from the other players when he first came up, told the story. National League pitcher Adam Wainwright backed off the mound to allow all of the others to stand and give Jeter a long ovation he so richly deserved. These players, the best in the world, were saluting a player they admired, respected and sometimes emulated.Watching Jeter walk through the dugout hugging players, you heard several “I love you’s.” Despite living and playing in the ultimate Fish Bowl in New York, Jeter has always projected a wholesome image and has been a great role model for kids.
Before Jeter came up for the first time, a Nike commercial aired, showing players, fans, policeman, firemen and people from all walks of life, tipping their Yankee caps to Jeter. A great commercial. Then, you heard the legendary voice of Bob Shepherd, “Now batting, number two, Derek Jeter, number two.”
Then Jeter did not disappoint, going two for two and leaving to another thunderous ovation. Derek Jeter looks like he could play another year or two but he knows how to bow out with class and dignity just as he played the game.