Derek Jeter Must Retire Now

Derek Jeter must retire now. Effective immediately. Before these final four home games against the Baltimore Orioles. His season and career over. For good. No more farewell tour. No more parting gifts. No more self indulgent sports drink commercials. No more out of character photo essays in local magazines. That’s it. Time for everyone to move on. Jeter. The Yankees. And the fans. Because at this rate, if he plays out the final week of the season then someone is going to get hurt. Like seriously. We’re talking broken limbs, fractured skulls, bruised egos you name it. And it it can all be avoided if manager Joe Girardi does what’s right, what’s required, and keeps his legendary shortstop out of the lineup.

The proof that something seriously wrong could and will happen if the situation is not resolved immediately is in the posh Yankee Stadium stands and bleachers where several incidents have already occurred demonstrating the severity of the threat. Fans, ushers and vendors are in jeopardy of a catastrophic injury every time Derek Jeter comes to the plate. Since it was announced way back in spring training that this would be Jeter’s final season in pinstripes, people have been lining up to grab a slice of history and in recent weeks the most prized piece of memorabilia has not been an autograph or picture but a foul ball off the bat of the Yankee captain.

Innocent bystanders have turned to cautionary tales as this battle for super fandom has been raging for some time now. Two weeks ago when the Yankees hosted the Kansas City Royals a man nearly lost both life and limb in pursuit of a Derek Jeter foul ball. The incident occurred during Jeter’s 5th inning at bat when on a 0-0 count he fouled a fastball straight back over the screen towards the broadcast booths. The ball ricocheted off the facade of the Delta Sky Suites directly into the outstretched hands of a husband and wife who were visiting Yankee Stadium with their two kids for the first time this season. As the happily married couple secured the baseball, their beautiful children rejoicing at their good fortune, another man, perhaps 45, with headphones covering his ears, body slammed the husband to the ground and pried the baseball from the wife’s hand. Boos rang through out the section as this overzealous man-child retreated to his seat with his new prize tucked safely in a fanny pack while the family of four was reduced to tears as they gently bandaged the husband’s bloody knee with leftover napkins from a Lobel’s roast beef sandwich. The Yankees did their best to cover up the ugly affair by offering the family the alleged baseball Derek Jeter warmed up with before the game, which was a nice gesture yet will not make up for the pain and suffering associated with coming this close to history only to have that memory dashed like the 2014 Yankees playoff chances.

And just think, all of this could have been avoided if Joe Girardi and the Yankees front office did what was right and kept their captain on the bench. Baseball writers and some disgruntled fans have been calling for Jeter to play less due to on field performance which is not enough of a reason especially when the roster was so clearly overmatched and outclassed by more formidable teams like the Baltimore Orioles. No the only reason why Derek Jeter’s farewell tour and illustrious career must end now is because the longer he plays the more likely it is that some fan, perhaps a father, maybe a mother, gets seriously injured while trying to catch a foul ball.

It’s the right thing to do, for the fans.

Greatness Before It’s Gone

Royalty was crowned across the boroughs of New York City Sunday afternoon, as coronations honoring two of sports all time greats took place in front of legions of adoring fans.

In the Bronx, titans past and present came out to celebrate the Captain at Yankee Stadium. Names like Ripken. Torre. Jordan. Icons from the world of sports gathered on the field to acknowledge the many accomplishments of a player Derek Jeter whose sterling reputation and leadership off the field and in the clubhouse often overshadowed his truly remarkable career on the field where over the course of 20 seasons in pinstripes he collected over 3400 hits, 5 Gold Gloves and 5 World Series rings. With retirement only a few weeks away, and regardless of how his WAR continues to sputter, Jeter rides off into the sunset as one of the greatest Yankees and shortstops of all time.

As baseball celebrated a member of its pantheon, 10 miles away in Flushing Meadows at the United States Tennis Center, a queen was crowned as Serena Williams won her 18th Grand Slam championship, tying Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the most women’s single titles of all time. In dispatching the overmatched Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets Serena demonstrated yet again the near flawless combination of power and precision. There has never been, nor in all likelihood will there ever be again, a tennis player so physically gifted, so competitive that opposing players rarely seem like they belong on the same court. To say that Serena is in a class of her own is not an overstatement but rather an acceptance of fact.

As sports fans we typically wait to appreciate greatness until after it’s gone. With Derek Jeter and Serena Williams however it is important to acknowledge today that we are watching two of the best athletes to ever compete in their respective sports.

Both will continue to have their detractors. Jeter’s overrated because he plays for the New York Yankees and Serena’s on court outbursts an indication of an underlying petulance that prevent her from a universal embrace.

Yet, beyond the flaws and envy, what cannot be argued is that video reels and second hand stories will not do justice to their remarkable careers.

Therefore it is better to celebrate them in the now before it’s too late and we’re forced to look back with reverence and remorse, our memories offering nothing more than a fleeting glimpse of greatness.