As my blog has moved further and further into the travel world, I’ve come across the occasional story that made me say, “Hmmm. Wonder if that’s important enough to bore those that only follow me for travel info?” Unfortunately, last night that story unfolded before my eyes in the wee hours of the night.
Derek Jeter has been the Yankees captain, OUR captain, for as long as I can remember. For the last 18 years, he’s been at shortstop pretty much every day. In a game where it’s tough for players to be healthy for all 162 games, it was tough for Jeter not to be. He’s played in 150 games or more nearly every year of his career. He also has a full season of playoff games under his belt, 158 to be exact. And, this year, there won’t be a 159.
Losing the game last night is a small matter compared to the captain. It’s not just the .389 batting average against the Orioles or the .333 average overall in the playoffs. It’s that a 38-year old could lead the major league in hits all year, most likely because the media said he was done, he couldn’t do it anymore.
Which is why even though you could see him scream as he went to the ground last night, you just knew he was getting up. Even though I was watching it and saw the pain in his eyes, my brain kept saying he would get up. But he didn’t. His manager (and former teammate) had to carry him off the field, done with an injury that will devastate the team left behind, not because of his average but because he always gets up, and therefore, everyone else needs to get up around him.
As a Yankee fan for my entire life, I know there’s a time that #2 won’t be in the field for us. Just like there will be a time when 42 won’t either. I wasn’t expecting either this year, especially not both.
They’ll both be back next year, the doctors say. But, this was a special year, with Andy back on the mound and a little magic in September as we headed down the stretch. Even when things dried up for most players, the captain just kept hitting.
He won’t anymore, and someone else will have to. I’m just not sure who.