Enjoy This

When I was growing up I always felt like I had missed the greatest moments and players in Yankee history. I would look out at all the pennants and think about growing up in New York in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s when the Yankees went to an amazing 15-out of- 18 World Series and won 10 titles. I would dream of seeing Ruth or Gehrig take a swing, DiMaggio fly around the bases or Mantle hit one into the seats. I loved the teams I grew up with and some of the players, but I felt like I had missed the best part of the franchise. I was wrong.

As great as those players and those teams were, what we have seen in the past twenty seasons has been just as amazing. Yes, there are more playoff spots, but making the playoffs in 17-of-20 years is something only the Yankees have done. They have won five World Series, three of those consecutively and gone to seven. This has been an era of amazing success.

At the center of this era is Derek Jeter. Too much time is spent cataloguing the things Jeter can’t do, or didn’t do. Not enough time is spent appreciating what he is. He is a guy who for twenty seasons never shied from the spotlight, never acted anything but professionally, and never took a play off. He will leave the game with more hits than all but five players in MLB history- Rose, Cobb, Aaron, Musial and Speaker. I won’t argue that Jeter was better than any specific former Yankee, but he is as worthy of induction into Monument Park as any of them.

In the next week or so, the Yankees will be officially eliminated from the playoffs. That means we all have thirteen games left to see Jeter play and appreciate all he has meant for this team.  That’s what I plan to do, watch each at bat, hope for a few more liners to right and just appreciate a guy who played the game the way you want it to be played. It’s the end of an era, but don’t mourn its passing just yet. Enjoy the last few moments.