Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Captain's Last Hoorah!

AP Photo
This past Thursday was the official start of spring training for New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter who, earlier this month, announced he will retire after the 2014 season. Of course there are mixed opinions about Jeter's surprising announcement but I'm on the side of those who think it's a good decision. Some quick thoughts:
  • Jeter no longer has anything to prove and, at 39, he no longer can compete at the level he's accustomed to competing. If he were 100% healthy there's no doubt he'd still be a Top 10 player (even at 39) but, as his struggles from last season showed, the rigors of a 162-game season are just too demanding on his aging body.
  • With 5 World Series rings, 5 Gold Gloves, 13 All-Star appearances and 3000+ hits the captain is an unquestionable first-ballot Hall of Famer. For a guy who has played his entire career in the tainted Steroid Era, Jeter is the epitome of a clean and honest player. He is the example for all up-and-coming young players to emulate.
  • He's playing in the final year of his contract and by retiring he avoids the long and dragged out process of negotiating a new deal. Even he had a rough time with the take-no-prisoners Yankee brass the last time he was negotiating a new contract.There's no need for him to tarnish his stellar image with the circus-like atmosphere that comes with negotiating with the hard-nosed Yankees. I think it's safe to say he doesn't need the money.
  • Baseball is a passion for Jeter, not a job. He, himself, has said that once it starts to feel like a job, it's time for him to go.
  • Last but not least, he avoids all the annoying questions that all Yankee players will face when the A-Rod circus returns in 2015. It couldn't have been written any better as the 2014 spotlight will solely be focused on Jeter without the distraction of all the A-Rod drama. Let the Yankees deal with their nuisance in 2015. By then the captain will have long ridden off into the sunset.
Farewell Captain!

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