It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to uncover the fact that at almost 40-years-old, Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter isn’t what he once was. It’s actually a small miracle that Jeter was even able to return this season–even at 75% of his former self after two horrific ankle injuries wiped away his 2013 season.
Whatever you do however, don’t tell the announcing team at the YES Network that Jeter isn’t as good as he used to be. No, the hit baseball’s in his direction just seem to be a tad out of his reach, because we all know that the game is one of mere inches, even for the great Yankees’ captain who is playing out his final season in pinstripes. For example, earlier in the week during the Orioles/Yankees series in the Bronx, Ken Singleton as a matter of record, explained that after three replays, that a ball Jeter might have converted into a double play, was simply out of his reach. Nothing more needing to be explained. If the ball could’ve been fielded by any shortstop and converted, Derek Jeter would’ve done so.
Singleton’s partner, Michael Kay broke out the “If the ball had been inches closer” routine. Let’s face it. Whether we like it or we don’t, Derek Jeter is going to miss some balls that he could’ve fielded a handful of years prior. This is the price we as Yankees’ fans pay for having a senior citizen in terms of baseball age manning one of, if not the most active infield position on the diamond, and expecting a man to defy by injury and logic to do so without fault.
While we should take in, and enjoy every moment of Derek Jeter’s final campaign that we can, also don’t forget that for every presentation of a lifetime achievement gift from an opposing team, there are going to be dozens of ground balls that skip just out of the reach of the captain’s mitt. Runners will reach safely when in the past, Jeter would spin, fire, and retire his man just in the nick of time. We have to accept it, because that is what it is. The YES Network I’m sure, has been tasked with making Jeter remain in the thoughts of fans everywhere, to be the player he always has been, whether he is or not. That’s a part of being the home team network. It’s not about truth, it’s about selling the image, and not tarnishing the legacy of one of the all-time greats.