I am a baseball fan.
I cheer when my team wins.
I cheer when my team loses-sometimes.
I was outraged by the Steroids Era and players who cheat.
I love the players who play the game fair and play the game hard.
I get a thrill out of watching a bunch of guys play catch for 3 hours.
I like the double plays and the diving catches. Stolen bases. Home runs and walk off wins.
I like many different teams with the different ways that they approach the game. The Red Sox with their homegrown talent. The Athletics and their pitching. The Cardinals for their classy on-field performances.
I like many players. But I only love, and respect, few. One of them is Derek Jeter.
For those of you who don’t know, Derek Jeter has been playing major league baseball for close to two decades. He’s played primarily at shortstop and will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time. He came up to the big leagues in the mid-90s for the New York Yankees, his favorite team growing up. He never left. For years, he played, month after month, season after season. He became a fan favorite for bringing offense to a position that is usually barren. Jeter has stuck with the Yankees and has become synonymous with the number 2, which he wears on his uniform, game after game. He led the charge for five World Series championship teams, appearing in seven total. He was named to 13 All Star games. Jeter won five Gold Gloves and has made some of the greatest plays by a shortstop in the history of the game. He won two Hank Aaron Awards and placed in the top ten for Most Valuable Player eight times. He is the first Yankee to ever hit 3,000 hits. All these things equal to a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the finest to ever play the game. It’s been an absolute joy to watch Derek Jeter since I first started watching baseball in 2005. Sadly, those days are numbered. Derek Jeter has announced that this will be his final season. It marks an end of an era. Jeter is the last great Yankee, after Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera have all hung up their cleats. It is almost impossible to think of baseball without Derek Jeter. He has become an American icon, not just one of the greatest players in the games, but a player known for his hard work, determination and his love of the game-all of which are getting more and more rare. Jeter will likely go down as the greatest Yankee of all time. Better than Gehrig. Better than Ruth. Better than Mantle or Berra. He deserves it. What makes Jeter a special player is the fact that even the die hard fans of all the teams that hate the Yankees-like the Red Sox, for instance, love Derek Jeter. He played the game hard. He played the game right. I will miss him.