Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rant #764: 38 Is Great

Derek Jeter turns 38 today.

As a Yankees fan my whole life, Derek Jeter has defined the team for the past 16 years.

He is this generation's Mr. Yankee, every bit as much as Joe DiMaggio was an earlier generation's Mr. Yankee.

And like DiMaggio, he has a presence and grace which is incredible, especially in this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, and everybody knowing everything about everybody.

Sure, he has been linked with lots of starlets, but somehow, no dirt comes out of these dalliances.

And he is the one guy that the other teams in baseball would give their right arm for. Although not the player he was several years ago, when you need a big hit, or a big play made in the field, this is the guy you want on your team.

Some--and even, some of his fellow ballplayers--believe he is the most overrated player to ever play the game. They say that if he played in, say, Cleveland, Jeter would just be another ballplayer.

But he plays in New York, and he knows just how to handle himself the right way.

He probably learned that from his parents, educators that don't look like they took much guff from their son when he was growing up.

He also learned from his sister, who battled cancer and won.

He has five World Series rings to show for his hard work and dedication to the game.

There really isn't much else to say about Jeter. Even non-baseball fans know his name, know what he looks like from the incredible array of endorsements he has, and of course, he is baseball's perennial teenybopper star, with his boy-next-door looks, so every teenage girl knows him and loves him.

He started off like a house on fire this season, but he has tailed off, still over .300 but teetering to fall below that mark. He probably will be in the All-Star game once again, and the way the Yankees are playing, the post season is beckoning for Jeter, and that is where he shines brighter than just about any other player.

So, as Jeter celebrates another birthday--and with no end in sight to his career as he goes for another milestone after hitting, and exceeding many other milestones--this Yankee fan wishes him the best.

Because let's face it, he is the best at what he does, even as he approaches 40.

And in my best Bob Sheppard interpretation ...

"Happy No. 38 and many more ... number two, Derek Jeter ... ."

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