This off-season, Derek Jeter made the retirement decision heard around the world. By the end of 2014, Jeter will be hanging up his spikes for good in exchange for increased charity work and a family. Everyone in baseball knows he will be turning 40 this summer. Just being a shortstop at 40 is an accomplishment in itself, but this is New York. This is Derek Jeter. He is not only expected to go out and be a body on the field. Jeter is expected to rally this team to its 28th championship. With all eyes on Jeter for one more year, what are we supposed to do if he falters?
The YES Network and its personalities will be talking about Jeter daily, if not hourly for a full six months. Jeter’s spring has been less than stellar, but everyone starts off 0-for-0 in Houston. There are a lot of elements in play for Jeter this season. Michael Kay is generally an extremely candid commentator that does not let players get away with their play, positive or negative. Even he may have to curb reality for the sake of holding Jeter in a positive light to the millions listening at home.
Joe Girardi may have to face some difficult decisions this season as well. Tens of thousands will be coming to Yankee Stadium with the sole purpose of being to see Jeter one last time. However, if Jeter cannot play at a major league level Girardi will have to consider benching the captain. During Jorge Posada’s final season, Girardi was faced with the same issue, and made the right decision. Fans may remember when Girardi placed Posada 9th in the Yankee lineup, only for Posada to take himself out of the game. Girardi has shown that he is able to make tough decisions for the betterment of the team.
Derek Jeter will get the benefit of the doubt this season from fans. Millions of Jeter fans will walk through the gates to see Jeter field ground balls and try to beat out infield hits to first. 50,000 fans will be lucky enough to see him play the Orioles in late September for his last regular season game at the stadium. I already have my tickets. I cannot say I didn’t wonder what may happen if Jeter is hurt or isn’t good enough to be at his own final game. Like all other fans, I am hoping for the best. The YES Network will honor him before, during, and after games along with their hour-long specials dedicated to him. All Jeter needs to do is perform the way he has for the last 20 years one more time.