It was the post heard around the world: On Feb. 12, Derek Jeter posted a letter on Facebook informing the world of his oncoming retirement. The 2014 season will be Jeter’s last. With spring training finally starting, Jeter will be having his last times around the country as the Yankee’s shortstop.
Jeter had kept his announcement of his retiring fairly quiet for some time now. Given the circumstances, Yankee fans as well as the whole country were caught completely off guard by his announcement. Jeter was sidelined by injury for much of last year, and he will turn 40 this season. Still, no one expected him to retire like this.
The move, though unanticipated, was widely praised by athletes, journalists, and fans alike. Jeter is quitting the game on his own terms, refusing to be remembered as a slumping shadow of the hero he once was. The captain is leaving baseball at a point in his career that he can be proud of his accomplishments.
Jeter’s success is something for which every baseball player strives. After being drafted by the Yankees right out of high school, Jeter played four seasons for the Gulf Coast Yankees in the minor leagues. At age 20, he was called up to the big league club. In his 19 seasons with the Yankees, Jeter has been a 13-time All-Star selectee, and he also holds all-career records for the Yankees for hits (3,316), bats (10,614), games played (2,602), and stolen bases (348).
The Yankees have always fielded great talent, with the likes of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and many more. With this perspective, those career records shine even brighter.
Jeter’s long and successful career gave him the respect of Yankee fans and baseball fans alike. Seeing Yankee Stadium without its long-time captain will be a sight that is unwelcome to fans across the nation.
America’s favorite past-time is finally stepping up to the plate for the 2014 season. Spring training has finally started and is preparing each team for their shot at the all-glorious World Series. Let us take a quick look at the New York Yankees.
Last season, the Yankees struggled desperately for the majority of the season. Derek Jeter began the season on the disabled list and only ended up playing in 17 games. The expectations for the Yankees dropped according Jeter’s health. Ending the year with a record of 85-77, the Yankees barely missed the postseason with their loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, their first time not appearing in the postseason since 2008.
The 2014 season for the Yankees is looking as promising as ever, especially considering that it will be Jeter’s last season. Top free agent recruits like Brett Gardner, Andrew Baily, David Robertson, and Aledmys Diaz were all contracted by the Yankees since November. With the help of Joe Girardi, Yankee fans can expect a lock down season in 2014.
To start off the spring training, the Yankees played Jameis Winston and the Florida State University Seminoles in an exhibition game. The Yankees beat the Seminoles 8-3, allowing the Yankees to start their road to the 2014 season as winners. The Yankees will start the regular season on the road against the Houston Astros on April 1.
As Jeter takes his last turn around the league, fans will demand wins. If they Yankees do not deliver Jeter to the postseason in his final year, baseball will have witnessed true injustice.
– Andrew Freeman, Contributing Writer