The Duncan Banner

February 14, 2014

Seeing Jeter leave causes heartbreak for doubters

John McKelvey
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — For writing this, I’ll probably have my Baltimore Orioles fandom revoked.

I can’t help it. The announcement of Derek Jeter retiring made me sad.

I loved hating Jeter. I loved hating him more than A-Rod, more than the traitor Mussina, and even more than Jeffrey Maier (for you younger readers, look it up).

However, last season was too much.  It was too easy to pick on a guy who appeared in only 17 games, but still earned more money than Mike Trout. Too easy to laugh at his below-Mendoza line batting average (.190) or when he faked like he was hit by a pitch in Tampa Bay just to get on base.

It’s like dunking on an eight-foot-high basketball net. You get the experience of dunking, but it’s just too easy to get any real satisfaction from. Sadly, that’s how I see this last season going.

A couple of years ago people were saying Jeter was on pace to break the Pete Rose’s hits record. I laughed. Jeter is no Rose. Rose dominated Father Time. Jeter had 3,302 hits before last season in which he turned 39 years old. Rose had 991 hits in the year he turned 39 and after. That was never and will never be done again. It’s a miracle every time the Hall of Fame votes come in and Rose isn’t elected, but that’s another column for another day.

This column is about Jeter, and we all (by all I mean all of the Baltimore and Boston fans) knew the downturn was coming. It hasn’t been a secret that Jeter’s range is pathetic. It’s something that we Cal Ripken Jr. fans bring up all of the time.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Derek Jeter has cost his team more runs compared to an average defender than any other player in baseball history. That’s also by 40 more runs than second-place finisher Gary Sheffield. Obviously, this means you have to play for a long time, and Jeter has done that. He had a long run as a successful shortstop for New York and deserves a lot of credit. However, he couldn’t get to a ball on the outfield grass to save his life, and I’m going to miss laughing as balls roll softly into left field for a single without Mr. November even in the picture.

It amazed me when A-Rod came to New York and Jeter stayed at short. What was that conversation like? I hope it took place via text message.

Yankees: Signed A-Rod. Can’t wait to see u 2 playing on the left side, it will be like an All-Star game haha.

Jeter: LOL yeah you know I will be playing short, right?

Yankees: ROFLcopter

Yankees five minutes later: Oh you’re serious. Tots McGoats, don’t get mad and leave.

Jeter: K cool

So we got to see an old-man limp to his left, while a steroids-enhanced (allegedly) superstar moved from a two-time defending Gold-Glover to having a .965 fielding percentage. ROFLcopter indeed.

Still, I’m sad to see it end the way it is. It’s never fun to pick on someone when they’re doing terrible, and it reminds me of how good Jeter has been for so many years, which is kind of a bummer. So as he says his last goodbye, hopefully we get more than 17 games. Just as much as his fans feel they deserve his best, so do the people who cringe every time they hear his name.