Why You Can Hate the New York Yankees but Not Derek Jeter
A Guest Blog by HowardTicker24
Even though he is on the most hated team in baseball, Derek Jeter is probably one of the most loved and respected players in the game. Even rivals, who should hate him, respect him and praise the way he carries himself on and off the field. Former stars who are retired say how much respect they have for him and that he is one of the greatest players of all time. I love talking about how Jeter is likable and since he just got his 3,000th hit I feel like this would be a good time.
After Jeter got his 3,000th career hit on Saturday everyone around baseball praised him. He is only one of 28 guys to accomplish this milestone, and he is the first Yankee to do it. Through his 17 years in the New York spotlight he has been a great captain, who always has class, and never got into any trouble. His teammates love him and when he got his 3,000th hit, his teammates were just as excited for him as he was. When Jeter was on 2,999 the whole Yankee dugout was on the rail ready to jump it to celebrate with Jeter. When he hit that home run it seemed like they won the World Series. Even the relievers were charging across the outfield grass like they would in a brawl.
He was even classy during his celebration, which many wouldn’t be mad at him if he wanted to finally be a little selfish. There was no bat flip, or jumping up and down. He ran fast around the bases and when he saw it land in the stands he did a respectful trot. No leap onto home plate as if it was a walk off home run, there was no fist pump, all he did was hug Jorge Posada and the rest of his teammates and coaches. One thing I love about Jeter is that he truly wanted to win that game. If he got 5 hits and they lost, he would have said it was a bad day. He is a team over individual player and that is a very admirable trait. Jeter said, “It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing interviews and waving to the crowd after the game if we had lost. So that was going through my mind in my last at-bat there. It is nice to get a hit, but we needed to win this game.”
The Rays were very respectful during the celebration. Stepping out of the dugout and giving him a standing ovation. I personally would have liked to see former Yankee teammate Johnny Damon walk over and give him a hug. When the ball reached the stands, Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman tipped his hat to him. It was awesome seeing all 48,103 fans standing and cheering and chanting “Derek Jeter!” at the top of their lungs. During Jeter’s curtain call may have been the loudest I’ve heard Yankee Stadium. Jeter was also very classy when he acknowledged the Rays by pointing to them. He said later we wanted to apologize for holding up the game. How can you not hate a guy like that? It is your time, you deserve the recognition, and you are worrying about what other people are thinking.
Another thing you got to love about Jeter is he has always gave up his body to make amazing plays. The face first lunge into the stands against the Red Sox in 2004 when he came out of the stands bloody is still my favorite Jeter memory. A close second to “the flip” play against the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS. You got to love the captain and short stop of your team coming up with a huge defensive plays when the game is on the line.
Jeter’s teammates were very excited for him. Alex Rodriguez said, “Days like today remind you of the icon that this guy is. To be able to do it in one uniform, I’ve said it all along, 3,000 hits in a Yankee uniform, for me, is like getting straight A’s at Harvard.” Nick Swisher said, “That was by far one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. To not only see him get 3,000 hits, but I mean to see him go 5-for-5 and get the game-winning knock, I definitely think that makes him immortal for sure.” Lastly, Mariano River said, “You’re talking about Babe Ruth to Yogi Berra and (Joe) DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and all those guys and none of them have 3,000 and here comes Derek Jeter for so many years and today to go 5-for-5, I don’t think the organization can be more happy than that. For us, I’m extremely happy for him.”
Craig Biggio, the most recent player to get 3,000 hit before Jeter has a lot of respect for Jeter.”I think for Derek, in general, he’s been such a great player and a great role model for the game of baseball, where you’re in that New York market, and it’s one of the most difficult markets to work in. For him to be able to play there and be the ambassador of the game he has been and be such a great player, it’s really says a lot about him. I’m happy for him.” This quote is perfect for my argument saying you literally cannot hate Jeter.
Hall of Famer Al Kaline also had a good quote on Jeter, “Just the way he’s handled himself all these years, being a star player and playing in New York and never getting in any trouble as far as I know, he’s a quality, class person. He’s certainly a very happy, welcome addition to the 3,000-hit club. Well deserved.”
Twitter and FaceBook were blowing up. Everyone from my friends, sport analyst, former and current players was congratulating Jeter. They were also saying they weren’t surprised that his 3,000th hit was a home run. Jeter is known for rising up to the occasion and succeeding in style. Jeter is not known for his power, but there was no surprise that he hit it out.
I was pretty surprised at the many Boston Red Sox that praised Jeter for his accomplishments and the person he is. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have arguably one the best rivalries in all of sports. They have had amazing games, fights, championships, you name it. But they have always respected each other. These players may hate the Yankees, but they love Derek Jeter. It is rare to see players on a rival team have this much respect for a player.
Dustin Pedroia is a huge fan of Derek Jeter. He said, he isn’t the only guy who respects him. “It’s not just me, it’s the whole league. This guy has played the game right for a long time. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and when he’s done, I don’t think there will be a bad thing said about him. He’s a first-class guy. He’s a winner. The highest praises you could say about a guy is what you would say about Jeter. He helps out young guys. He helps out older guys. He helps out everybody. The game needs more guys like Derek Jeter. It’s unbelievable what he’s been able to do throughout his career, and to get a chance to play against him the last five years is pretty cool, man, it’s pretty cool.”
Long time pitcher Tim Wakefield had a lot to say about Jeter as well, “It’s a fitting tribute to a guy that has spent his whole career with one organization and has been a true professional his whole career there. For him to get 3,000 hits in the amount of time that he’s done it is pretty amazing. It shows how great of an athlete he is and I have the utmost respect for him the way he goes about his business. He’s as professional as anyone. It’s pretty cool that I’ve faced him the most times of anybody.”
My favorite Red Sox quote is what Manager Terry Francona said, “If you like baseball, he’s a lot of what’s good in baseball. He respects the game. He plays the game right. He makes me proud for the way he goes about his business.”He always plays the game right. He always treats people right and he tries to beat your brains out. That’s a good way to go about things. I don’t care how long it takes. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment. The numbers speak for themselves. I just think the other side of it is as impressive or more because of the way he conducts himself and the way he respects the game. When you’re that talented, you’re going to get hits if you stay out there. I appreciate the way he respects the game, a lot.”
The Red Sox captain Jason Varitek even had nice things to say about Jeter.”For anyone, that’s a fabulous feat. To be a part of it in your generation of players is pretty neat. He’s been a superstar pretty much since Day 1 that I’ve been in this uniform and have played against him. He’s carried himself that way, he’s played that way and there’s a reason he has 3,000 hits. A great part of my career are the head-to-head battles with that organization. That has been hundreds and hundreds of games. It’s been fun. I have the utmost respect for him as a player, the way he conducts himself and the way he conducts himself as a champion.”
Lastly, I player who I hate, Red Sox closer John Papelbon even praised Jeter. “He’s been one of the true statesmen of the game. He plays the game the right way. From my perspective, I’ve always loved to compete against him. Every time I have an at-bat against him, it seems like it’s a 12- to 15-pitch at-bat. For me, and for this season, it’s one of the high points of baseball.”
Based off all the things Jeter has done in his career, the way he careers himself, the way he leads, him being a role model, and what people around baseball say about him, he truly is one of the most loved and respected players in the game. It’s hard to find a reason to not like him. He deserves everything he gets because he has earned it. I can’t wait to see how he finishes his last few seasons of his career. He is currently 27th on MLB’s All Time Hit List. Realistically, he can just slip into the top 10.