Reflecting On The Captain, As He Makes His Final Exit

There’s a recent Gatorade commercial entitled “Made in New York featuring Derek Jeter,” set to the background of Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way.” As Jeter’s driver makes his way into The Bronx, for an ordinary “day of game” ride, Jeter tells his driver that he wants to walk the remaining couple of blocks or so to Yankee Stadium. Through this journey, Jeter comes across people who know his name, but does not know theirs. They are people on the street, garbage men, those in a bar. These are the Yankee fans that have witness their modern-day pride bloom into what he has simply become known as “The Captain.”

Only perfect that the classic 1969 Sinatra tune come as the theme song for this commercial, for Jeter led, soft-spoken but held the torch for this generation of Yankees. In that time, from 1995 on, Jeter captured the AL Rookie of The Year, become a 14-time All-Star, and above all else, have his name engraved on five World Series teams.

He also became the first Yankee to join the 3,000 hit club, an amazing feat with the historic players that have come out of The Bronx. Maybe one can make an argument for Jeter as the greatest Yankee of all time, but that’s a debate that would take hours to gather opinions.

One thing is for certain, Jeter has become the greatest Yankee to handle the media pressure of New York City, playing for the most historic and documented franchised in baseball history. When Jeter became a rookie in 1995, cable television existed of course, but not to the extent of today, with more than just ESPN. Sports talk radio has expanded, the internet started to come of age, and to that effect, leading to social media and blogs of now.

Yet, through the media pressure, Jeter has presented himself as the constant professional. I’m sure the media will miss covering on a daily basis from spring to fall, and I’m sure Jeter will miss it, a little.

Then again, Jeter will miss the day-to-day grind of being a major league ball player, a Yankee, something he did for two decades, something that’s a dying breed, one player staying in one place for an entire career.

The impact of Jeter’s exit, huge. At least from what the ticket prices have become for Thursday night’s at Yankee Stadium against the Orioles, his final home game. StubHub.com is asking for $329.80 as the cheapest price as of mid-day Wednesday, while the final game, in of all places, Fenway Park against the Red Sox on Sunday, have the first asking price of $225.

This comes to tell you this about Jeter, respect. It’s respect that everyone has for The Captain, even if you root for the Mets or Red Sox. Respect then, respect now and forever, including the summer of 2020 in Cooperstown.

Frank Sprankle

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