Derek Jeter announced yesterday that he’s going to be retiring after this season. This isn’t a huge shock. After he was injured two seasons ago, it’s been hard for him to get back to the unbelievable level that he used to work at.
I don’t talk about sports much here, but while my love for The New York Yankees is just about as deep as my love for any character or book or movie I’ve talked about here, it’s also always felt somehow separate. But to not mark Derek’s announcement, well, I mean, that would be asking far too much of me.
I was in the fourth grade in 1996, when The Yankees had their crazy record breaking World Series Champ seasons. That was Jeter’s rookie season and to me, Jeter has simply defined the Yanks ever since. He’s always been the model of the friendly graceful and restrained outlook that all New York athletes are expected to live up to. Derek didn’t speak out about his teammates, bosses or the incredible shake ups in the Yankee organization during his time. When he was named Captain, Yankee fans, a particularly persnickety bunch when it comes to legacy cheered.
I remember when he hit his 3000th hit, we were having a party at my house, it was my graduation party and my brother left, and drove to Modell’s to buy everyone 3000th hit merchandise. It was great and I kind of love that I was surrounded so thoroughly by the people that I love during this incredibly and historic moment.
My sports fandom is intensely personal and tied in many ways to my family which is one of the reasons I don’t write about it much. Kind of like my Catholicism and my love of Bruce Springsteen, it’s such a huge part of who I am, it just sort of informs how I relate to the world around me and doesn’t much need to be analyzed. Not to say that I follow The Church blindly or that I’d defend say, Nebraska , but when I try to put it in words it all winds up sounding pretty trite.
It’s going to be hard to say good bye to this incredible player, but it’s definitely time to say good bye. Last season was difficult to watch. But there’s no question in any body’s mind that this man is going to the hall of fame.
But of course we still get another season of baseball out of him, so we don’t have to say good bye just yet! Looking forward to it Derek. The fans will miss you for always!