Tag Archives: Derek Jeter

A-Rod set to return; good luck with the circus

Baseball fan that I continue to be — despite the game’s many steroid-induced blemishes andĀ embarrassments — I await the return of a guy I once hoped would become the next all-time home run leader.

Not any longer do I wish that for Alex Rodriguez.


The New York Yankees slugger is coming back from a season-long suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. Today he issued a hand-written apology of sorts to baseball fans. As USA Today reported, the lack of a press conference and all the hoopla surrounding it might have been the smartest thing A-Rod has done in years.

One of the things I’m waiting to see is how the Yankees receive A-Rod in the clubhouse.

The Captain, Derek Jeter, has retired. The Yankees were Jeter’s team, even as A-Rod arrived years ago amid considerable fanfare and hype. He was thought to be the next great Yankee slugger — following in the steps of The Babe, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Yes, he put up some big numbers. Then came the suspicion about his use of PEDs. After that came the results of a probe, then the suspension and then the confession. Today the apology arrived.

Spring training is about to begin and my sense is that the Yankees aren’t going to welcome A-Rod back with any inflated enthusiasm.

You see, unlike some of the great Yankees of the past — and I have Mantle and Jeter in mind when I say this — A-Rod never has been a great teammate. He’s not the kind of superstar who takes younger players under his wing, mentors them, or befriends the utility infielder just called up from the minor leagues —Ā as TheĀ Mick used to do when he was hittingĀ jaw-dropping home run blastsĀ more than 50 years ago.

I, for one, once rooted for A-Rod to break the home run record set by another PED-tainted ballplayer, Barry Bonds. For that matter, I still consider Henry Aaron to be the all-time HR king.

Rodriguez enters this season with 654 home runs. He needs 109 more to pass Bonds. He’s also 39 years of age. Do the math. He isn’t likely to get to 763 home runs.

Too bad for that.

Still, his return will be worth watching. If only I couldĀ cheerĀ A-Rod back to the game many of us still love to watch.


Jeter gets monumental sendoff

Derek Jeter’s sendoff as he ends his 20-year career playing baseball for the New York Yankees has been something to behold.

Yes, he’s had a stellar career and yes, he’s been a model of decorum off the field.

The first element is worthy of praise. The second element is what has triggered the media love affair with the Yankees’ captain.


Think about this for a moment.

The public has been bombarded with an incessant downpour of bad news about high-profile athletes. Wife-beating. Child abuse. Drug abuse. Drunken driving. Carousing. Fights in bars. It’s been going on for years.

Then we have this story about Derek Jeter, a young man from Kalamazoo, Mich., who at one time thought about enrolling in the University of Michigan. Then fate came calling. The Yankees drafted him and he went to The Big Apple to play shortstop for the most storied franchise in all of sports — not just baseball.

Now as his career is drawing to a close, the media are looking back on his career with a fondness that seems as much an appreciation for the man he has become as for the skill he brought to the game.

Jeter is now being mentioned in the same breath as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle — the Four Horsemen of Yankee greatness. I suppose Jeter’s career stats would put him in that category no matter what.

The backdrop of all this pro athlete misbehavior, though, has helped stimulate the affection of a nation that is now saying “so long” to The Captain.

Jeter deserves the accolades

Let’s talk a little baseball.

Specifically, let’s talk for a bit about Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees shortstop whose baseball career is about to end in a few days.

Jeter is retiring after 20 seasons with the Yankees and he’s been the subject of two interesting — and opposing — observations.

ESPN blowhard Keith Olbermann went on the air last night and talked about how tired he is of all the adulation Jeter has been getting. Well, whatever, Keith. You are not credible — to me, at least — to talk about anything. I will set your rant aside.

Then I read an Associated Press story this morning that suggests Jeter might be the first unanimous pick for baseball’s Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2020.


I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon, either. Why? It has little to do with Jeter, who has had a stellar career and has behaved magnificently off the field as well.

It’s just that in the history of Hall of Fame voting, no one ever has gotten into the hall unanimously. Tom Seaver, the great pitcher, came closest. All the inductees have voters keeping them off their Hall of Fame ballots.

Looking back on all the years of baseball I’ve followed, I think the perfect candidate for unanimous induction would have been Henry Aaron, the great Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves slugger who chased down Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. Hank Aaron remains — in my mind at least — the home run king, given that he didn’t banned substances that enabled him to break the record.

More than that, he faced down horrific racism from those who just couldn’t stand the thought of a white guy’s record falling to a black guy. Aaron conducted himself with great courage and grace in the face of that hatred and to this very day remains the model of gentlemanly decorum.

If anyone should have been elected with nary a “no” vote, it’s Hammering Hank Aaron.

He didn’t get there unanimously.

Jeter is one of the greatest Yankees ever. He stands next to the Babe, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle — four men who personified what it means to be a Yankee great. We can place Derek Jeter next to them.

Will he get to the Hall of Fame with a unanimous vote? Well, if Henry Aaron couldn’t do it, I cannot fathom how Derek Jeter gets it done.

Jeter has joined ranks of all-time Yankee greats

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Those four men, in order, became the respective faces of the New York Yankees, without question the most storied franchise in Major League Baseball and arguably the most storied, revered and hated franchise in all of professional sports.

Let’s add another name that list of all-timers: Derek Jeter.

Jeter, the Yankees’ shortstop for the past two decades, has announced he will retire at the end of the upcoming season.


He’s going out on top, on his terms, with his head held high and proud and with his standing intact as one of the game’s greatest players.

Think about the four men whose ranks he’s already joined. Ruth didn’t play his entire career in New York; he started out as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, had his greatest years as a Yankee, then was traded to the Boston Braves. Still, does anyone doubt he belongs as the charter member of the Yankee pantheon? Hardly. Gehrig played his entire career with the Yankees, alongside both Ruth and DiMaggio, who came along near the end of the Iron Horse’s stellar career. DiMaggio fashioned his own standing among the Yankee greats over 15 seasons. Then came the Mick — the guy I grew up watching. He was star-crossed, injury-riddled, but still managed a career that would be the envy of virtually every player who’s ever suited up.

Derek Jeter’s career numbers already reflect stratospheric status in hits, games played, at-bats, runs scored.

And he did it all with class and grace, becoming the Yankees’ captain and the go-to guy in the clubhouse.

Pretenders would come along to become the next great Yankee hitter, only to fall short. Alex Rodriguez, the disgraced third baseman who’s going to sit out the 2014 season as punishment for his use of performance enhancing drugs, has more home runs over his career. He’s now been sent to the sidelines, possibly never to return to the game. Let’s not forget that relief pitching ace Mariano Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season and he, just like Jeter, is headed for the Hall of Fame.

All that said, Jeter will get to take the bows on his own, without the shadow of his cheating teammate — A-Rod — looming in the background.

That, too, is as it should be.

Hate to pre-judge A-Rod, but …

Here’s what I’m thinking today about what likely will happen tomorrow to baseball’s latest fallen icon: Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the rest of the season and his ticket to the Hall of Fame will be canceled.


It really pains me to think this about A-Rod, a young man I used to admire for his immense baseball skill. It turns out the former Seattle Mariner/Texas Ranger/New York Yankee slugger is about to pass into history tainted with the tag of “cheater” over the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

I have heard all weekend about how Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig broke off negotiations with A-Rod because the injured superstar was trying to call all the shots. Selig would have none of it.

This suspension, if it’s for the rest of the year as most baseball observers predict, could spell the end of A-Rod’s career. He’s already angered the Yankees’ management, speaking out of school over the state of his rehab; he hasn’t played this year because of injury.

It’s also been reported over many years that A-Rod doesn’t have much support in the clubhouse. He isn’t known as a “good teammate” in the mold of, say, Mickey Mantle or Derek Jeter. So, whatever happens to Rodriguez isn’t likely to be greeted with many expressions of sorrow from his fellow Yankees.

It’s been nice watching you over the years, A-Rod. I’m afraid your day is done.